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Absinthe and Ecstasy

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The embers of a cigarette burning in the darkness was the only sign that there was someone waiting for you in the dark alley. You strolled in without hesitation, a large paper bag tucked under one arm.

"Do you have the stuff?" A low voice growled.

"BP, I've sold actual drugs before, this gets more and more ridiculous every time you do it." You informed the dark alley.

"Yeah, but the stuff you sell is legal now. You know you miss the dark and shady side of things," Burgerpants, a cat monster that you preferred to call BP, stepped out of the shadows looking in no way as menacing as he'd like to be.

"Just because I'm legal doesn't mean I don't do shady things," You protested, "I broke a guy’s arm last week. There's another guys who owes me a thousand dollars, I'm hunting him down and am going to break both his legs as soon as I find him."

"That's thug stuff, I'm talking about dark and dangerous." BP insisted.

You shook your head at BP in disbelief, "Buddy, handing you off cough syrup for your friend's kid is not dark and dangerous."

"It would be if you were caught." BP said, suddenly serious.

"We don't have anything risky today," You assured him, glancing in the paper bag, "Cough and cold medicine, cough drops, NyQuil, DayQuil, Vicks... nothing we'd get in trouble for."

There was a strict regulation on what human items monsters were allowed to have, and pharmacies as a whole had a standing ban on monsterkind. You and BP had hooked up through a random happenstance, and you’d become his human item supplier ever since.

"How much do I owe you?" BP asked as you handed over the bag.

"Ten dollars." You answered without hesitation.

"Buddy," BP leveled a look at you.

You shrugged, "Prove me wrong and I'll charge you more."

BP shook his head, "You and I both know you spent way more than ten dollars on this stuff."

"I know no such thing. Just take the stuff, BP, I wouldn't even make you pay if you didn't insist." You sighed.

BP grumbled and handed you a ten dollar bill and a small bag.

"What's this?" You raised an eyebrow.

"Monster candy, from Toriel. She sent it along as a thank you for all the stuff you've smuggled the kid."

You looked at the small bag for a long moment.

The production and trade of monster foods and candies had been one of the few things monsters had managed to keep ahold of when they lost the war. The King of monsters tightly controlled how much monster candy and food actually went to humans, and it was one of the things keeping monster kind from having to retreat back underground when faced with taxes.

You might be the only human in Ebott City who was handed a small bag of it, as opposed to spending obscene amounts of money on one piece.

"The King okayed this? He and his guards haven’t been to Ebott City in weeks, there’s no way he okayed this..." You murmured, your voice going raspy in shock.

"You'd be surprised what the King will okay when Toriel asks it." BP chuckled.

"Yeah, well," You cleared your throat, "This is definitely too much for what I've been doing..."

BP rolled his eyes, "Take it, or she'll show up at your house with a whole pie." He advised.

Very slowly you put the bag and the money in your pocket, "Tell her thanks for me?"

"Will do," BP started to fade back into the shadows so you could leave, and no one would see you with him, then hesitated, "Buddy, you know I don't like asking you for favors but... there's monster that's not come home for the past couple of days. He, uh, doesn't have the best job... it's... well, he does what he feels like he has to, to get the bills paid and keep him and his brother housed. His little bro is all sorts of torn up about him not coming home."

"Remi says you haven't been home in a few days, are you okay?"

"I'll keep my eye out." You told him solemnly, "What's he look like?"

"He's a skeleton, as far as I'm aware he and his bro are the only skeletons in Ebott City. He's also kinda short, answers to Sans." BP told you.

"Sans, short skeleton." You nodded, "I'm heading to the bar for my shift after this, so I'll feel out some of my regulars, see if I can find him."

BP nodded, looking significantly less tense, "Appreciate it. He's a good friend, and no one likes to see his brother upset."

You hesitated, “BP… How’s the kid really? You keep sending me for more and more cold stuff, and flu stuff…”

BP considered you for a long, long moment.

“Magic doesn't work on sickness,” He said finally, “So the best we’ve got is what you can give us. Frisk… They aren’t really getting better, and Toriel can’t exactly take the kid to the hospital.”

You grit your teeth. Hospitals were, of course, another place forbidden to monsters.

“I know this is weird, and neither the kid or their mom has ever actually met me, but if things get worse shoot me a… Give me a call, and I’ll take them to the hospital. I’ve still got some people who do less than legal stuff, I can get the kid in the hospital, and out again without anyone knowing that Toriel’s their guardian.”

BP stopped. You weren’t sure if it was the offer, that you asked him to call you (You had been vehement, almost violently so, that you did not do phone calls), or that he didn’t want to give away that he didn’t really trust you.

You wouldn't blame him for the last in the slightest.

“It’s just an option, if something in there doesn’t help and things don’t get better.” You assured him, “If it makes Toriel feel better I’d take whatever precautions she wanted, even staying in my house for the duration.”

The embers of BP’s cigarette burned brightly as he puffed thoughtfully.

“I’ll let Toriel know you offered.” He said finally.

You nodded, “Last resort, I know you guys have little enough reason to trust us.”

“If I can ask, why even make the offer?” BP asked finally.

“Be good, be nice. Don’t go hard and cold again, please.”

“Made a promise to someone important that I’d do good things.” You whispered.

BP considered you for another long moment before he nodded and stepped back into the alley.

You gave him a second to fade back into the shadows before leaving the alley, more upset than you were willing to show at the mention of missing siblings.

You considered heading home for a moment, to drop the monster candy off, but if you did you'd definitely be late for your shift.

Not to mention, if you went home you weren't sure you'd be able to bring yourself to leave the house again, not after being reminded of Remi twice today. So, with a sigh of resignation, you made your way to your part time job.

Although, to be frank, your job at Quin’s Place was almost as much of a conscription as the Underwar had been. Your best friend from High School had watched you wander aimlessly through the streets one too many times and had drug you into the bar she had renovated to insure you got some social interaction through the day. Quin also used your shifts as a way to make sure you’d eaten at least once a day and to grill you on whether or not you’d taken your pills.

“Jeans aren’t part of the dress code.” Quin said the moment you walked in.

You frowned at her, “There is no dress code.”

“There could be, maybe I instated it and because you’re an irresponsible employee you didn’t know about it.” Quin raised an eyebrow.

You tilted your head, “... Is this about you wanting me to call you more often?”

“It might be.”

You sighed and leaned against the bar, “I don’t make phone calls, Quin. I show up for work, isn’t that enough?”

“I could fire you, what would you do then?”

“Live off my savings from before and during the war, and supplement that with my baking.” You answered without hesitation, “And never leave the house again.”

You couldn’t stop the slight ‘Ooph’ that escaped you as Quin jumped the bar and grabbed you tightly, “Don’t you dare.” She said sternly.

“You were the one threatening to fire me.” You protested, not really annoyed.

“I just wish you’d interact with people more.” Quin sighed.

“I sell drugs packed into baked goods, believe me when I say I interact with people more than I’d like.” You grumbled.

“Marijuana has been legal since the middle of the Underwar, your scary dealer tendencies aren't actually scary anymore.” Quin informed you, hopping the bar again and tossing you an apron.

“You’re the second person to tell me that today. I broke a guy’s arm the other day, why aren’t you people afraid of me?” You grumbled, tying the apron, “And why don’t you walk around the bar like a normal person.”

“The only thing scary about you is your choice in alcohol, even when you’re breaking limbs.” Quin teased, “And it saves time to hop the bar.”

You sighed in defeat, “Your bar, your rules.”

“It is, isn’t it?” Quin beamed at the building she had bought and turned from a dive of a place to a bar nice enough that it had classed up the whole neighborhood.

You glanced around, it was early enough that there were a few of the regulars littered here and there but no one seemed in any hurry to do a lot of drinking fast. You joined Quin behind the bar and propped your chin on a fist.

You remembered the news you’d gotten before you met up with BP earlier and grinned, “So I heard my old friend Robbie is back in town.”

Quin’s proud grin turned to aferocious scowl, “How can you be smiling about that? The last time he was in town he cheated you out of six hundred dollars worth of goods and nearly made off with Remi’s college-” Quin stopped, but couldn’t take back your sister’s name. It hung in the air like a physical presence between you.

“He did make off with a bit of her savings,” You nodded, your grin fading slightly, “But he’s back, and I’m going to break his legs.”

“Before or after you get your money?” Qin raised an eyebrow.

“I’m going to lure him into a false sense of security, make him think he’ll get away if he pays me, then I’m going to break his legs. Then his neck for what he did to… to Remi.”

“Savage.” Quin said in approval.

“Am I scarier now?” You asked curiously.

“No. Go take a drink before the rush comes in, you’re a lot nicer to customers when you’re drunk.” Quin advised.

“What kind of boss encourages their employee to drink on the job?” You raised an eyebrow at Quin.

“The kind who has seen you sober on the job.” Quin mock shuddered. You considered for a moment, but she had a fair point so you grabbed a bottle of Absinthe and an eight ounce glass.

A couple of the regulars who had been watching you turned away immediately, there had been a few people in the two years since the Underwar who’d tried your method of getting tipsy fast and it never agreed with them.

You poured the Absinthe, put it back in it’s spot on the shelf, and without hesitation took the Absinthe in one shot and closed your eyes.

For a moment there was nothing but the taste of liquorice, then fire raced up your throat and your eyes watered. You blinked until your eyes were clear while you moderated your breathing, then you stood and eyed the few people watching you in morbid horror.

They turned away abruptly.

By the time business picked up you had an easy smile on your face and you laughed and flirted with customers as easily as Quin did, the ghosts of your life firmly trapped behind the pleasant thrum of the alcohol. You were so engaged in mixing drinks and making jokes with old friends and new patrons that it took awhile for a familiar voice to penetrate your pleasant haze.

“-picked him right up off the street corner. Friend of mine told me that they react differently based on what you give them, but no matter what they can’t focus enough to use their magic. It was just my luck that ecstasy apparently makes this one desperate enough to do whatever I say. What I gave him would definitely be an overdose to you or me, but it’s just going to linger in his system for a month and make him desperate as fuck, over sensitive and all that jazz.” Obnoxious laughter pounded in your bones as fury swept away any pleasant feelings the absinthe had conjured.

You didn’t need anyone to point you in the direction of the owner of that voice, you could pick him out of a line up of a thousand people.

Robert ‘Robbie’ Grey was your age. He had gone to school with you and Quin, and when your baby sister hit an early growth spurt and grew into herself, he set his eyes on her.

You hated him at best, and was more than willing to murder him with your bare hands at worst.

“_____.” Quin murmured softly at your side.

“I won’t get violent on the job unless you need me to help kick someone out.” You said instantly. You had eyes only for Robbie, so it took you a moment to register what he was actually saying.

It took you less time to realize what it meant.

“-five years.” Robbie was answering a question of the guys near him had asked, “Doing the exact same thing he was doing on his own, except now all the money goes to me, and of course I get all the freebies I want. Monsters can do some pretty interesting things with their magic.” He tugged meaningfully on a leash.

“Love, if you don’t want to get violent I’m going to kick him out, it’s sick when humans do that shit to monsters.” Quin said lowly.

You didn’t respond, simply turned and grabbed two glasses. You filled them both with Absinthe and resisted the urge to find some of the cleaning products Quin kept around and slip them into one of them.

“_____?”

“I’m probably not going to be able to work the rest of my shift Quin, I’ve got a friend to help out and this looks like a delicate situation.” You said lowly.

Quin’s eyes flickered between the Absinthe, your face, and Robbie.

“If you’re doing what I think you’re doing, then I’ll give you the week off and won’t even call you while you’re out.” She said lowly.

You smiled grimly at her, and walked around the bar with the glasses.

Robbie’s friends were still laughing as you approached, but you barely even saw any of them. Your attention was focused on the deadbeat trash bag that was your sister’s ex, and the monster knelt, leashed on the floor.

Sans -and it had to be Sans because BP had said there were only two skeletons in the city, and what were the odds that he was going to show up here of all places in the company of Robbie of all the dirtbag humans in the world- looked worse for wear. Underneath a black tank top his chest was heaving like he couldn't get enough air, he was shaking subtly, there was a magical blue glow on his cheekbones, and he seemed to be sweating. Someone, probably Robbie, had tied his arms behind his back and put a blindfold on him and wrapped a silver length of duct tape around his mouth.

“Gentlemen,” Robbie went white as a sheet at the sound of your voice and the laughing men around him went quiet, “You need to leave. Now.”

There were about ten men gathered around the table Robbie had claimed, and a few of them looked like they might argue, until they looked in your eyes. Without a word they all turned and walked out of the bar, giving the impression of a pack of dogs fleeing with their tails between their legs.

“_-_____,” Robbie said slowly, eyes darting towards the door, “How nice to see you…”

“It’s been awhile Robbie darling,” Your voice was cold as ice and you placed the drink in front of him, taking one of the vacated seats, “What, three, four years? Since you made off with six hundred dollars worth of my products, and four hundred dollars from Remi’s savings?”

As nervous as he was, Remi’s name made a spark of hope appear in his eyes. Even when she was angriest at him, Remi had a soft spot for Robbie and you couldn’t deny Remi anything.

“How’s Remiera doing? Has she-Did she get into that art school she was looking at?” He asked quickly.

“Remi died in the Underwar, Robbie,” Your grip tightened slightly around the glass still in your hand.

Genuine sorrow crossed his face, “Oh… Oh, hell, I’m sorry… I thought… She was a little young to be involved in the draft?”

“She volunteered. Take a drink Robbie.”

Caught off guard by the news of Remi’s death and your overall demeanor, Robbie took a deep drink of the Absinthe, then sputtered as the taste and the burn caught up with him.

Without hesitation you tossed the glass back, eyes never leaving Robbie’s. Your prior intoxication cancelled out the usual bout of short breath and watering eyes. He swallowed hard.

“Uhm, I… It’s a real shame to hear about Remi, I’m sorry _____, I really am-”

“What are you doing with that monster, Robbie?” You asked lowly. Drinking a second glass of Absinthe was a gamble, one glass was enough to send you to the edge of drunkenness without getting sloppy, but two would get you smashed. You had five, maybe ten minutes before you lost a great deal of your coherency. On the other hand it wasn't exactly a secret how strong Absinthe was, and Robbie had just watched you knock back a glass straight faced.

“It, uh, he sold himself to me. He’s got a-a debt to pay off. Over five years.” Robbie said nervously.

“Would that debt be more or less than the thousand dollars you owe me, Robbie?” You propped your chin against your fist, “The thousand dollars I was going to break both your legs and your arms over, by the way. Maybe more. You tend to go down a limb with each person I talk to.”

Robbie’s eyes became pinpricks. What you sold hadn’t always been legal, and your reactions to being cheated hadn't changed much over the years. He’d dated Remi for a good while, and in that time he had seen you hurt people.

Robbie had seen you kill people.

“L-less.” He breathed.

“Pity. Means I’m going to lose out by making this deal,” You sighed sadly, “Robbie, darling, I’ve been looking for that monster by your feet for awhile now,” An hour, maybe two, but he didn’t need to know that, “And you, lucky boy you are, own him. You owe me, you own him. I know you've always been terrible at math, Robbie dear, so here’s what’s going to happen-You can sign the skeleton’s contract over to me and I’ll let you go free. Hell, you can even live in the city without looking over your shoulder all the time... or I can kill you and take the skeleton anyway. What do you say?”

You watched him impassively, but inwardly you were worried. Robbie was relatively sober, and terrifying badass you may be, you were drunk and getting drunker. There was a decent chance that if Robbie chose to fight, you would lose.

Or worse, you would lose and Sans would get hurt in the crossfire.

Robbie looked down at Sans, seemingly considering, but there was a spark of something you didn't like in his eyes.

“You’re a vet, aren’t you? Of the Underwar? I can’t imagine you trying to weasel out of the draft, and there’s no other reason a pacifist like Remi would volunteer for a war.”

“I am,” You answered, keeping your emotions out of your voice. You knew it was your fault your sister was dead better than anyone in the world.

Robbie thrust the leash at you, “Take him. I’ll come by with a lawyer and the contract tomorrow, but after that you have to swear we’re square. No coming back later to kill me because the monster isn’t worth as much as I owed you.”

You gingerly took the leash, all too aware of how hard Sans was breathing on the floor, “Good boy, Robbie.” You told him, “As soon as you and I sign off on that contract tomorrow, we’re square and you won’t have to worry about me unless you come near my house, or step in Quin’s Place again.”

Robbie held both hands up, “After tomorrow you won’t have to worry about it.” He promised, then hesitated, “Are you… You’re sure Remi’s gone?”

You grit your teeth together and something in your expression must have changed because he stood and was out the door before you could even think of a response.

Quin was at your side without a word, “Can you even walk home, or should I call you a cab?” She asked quietly.

“I’ll make it,” You promised, looking down at Sans, “Take the drinks out of my check, will you?”

“You cleared my bar of a bunch of shit heads, and got someone away from Robbie. I’ll pay for your drinks tonight.” Quin offered you a small grin.

You snorted and very slowly stood. You took a few hesitant steps, and when it didn’t look like you were going to fall over, you carefully leaned down and scooped up Sans.

Thankfully he didn’t weigh as much as a human his size did, or you’d be in a lot of trouble.

“_____!” One of the regulars who’d been watching you called out, “You gonna carry that thing?”

You shot him a dark glare, “You see the state of him, Derrick? I want to get home eventually, and it’s not gonna happen if I make him walk on his own.” You snapped.

You were walking a very fine line. There were very few people in Ebbott City who hadn’t been involved in the Underwar, and people labelled ‘Monster Lovers’ had it almost as bad as monsters themselves.

You couldn't afford to be branded a monster lover right now, BP would lose his only connection to human goods, and on the chance Toriel’s kid got worse you’d have a lot harder time getting them safely in and out of the hospital without authorities being involved.

Derrick raised his hands in surrender, “You’ve had too much to drink, you’re getting mean.” He accused.

“Go home to your wife, before I call and tell Jessica what all the overtime you've been putting in really is.” Quin turned on him as you walked out the door.

Away from the noises of the bar, you could hear that Sans was making quiet noises behind the duct tape. Whimpers, moans, little cries.

Very carefully you turned towards home, putting one foot in foot of the other with deliberateness. You were going to regret not taking Quin up on her offer to take a cab, but a cab would have meant you couldn’t offer Sans soft reassurances as you went.

“You’re Sans right?” You murmured, “My name is _____. I’m a friend of BP’s, you know him better as Burgerpants, I bet. I told him when we started making deals that I wasn’t going to call him that, especially not after hearing the story behind it, but he still won’t tell me his real name.” You couldn’t tell if Sans was getting quieter, or if you were getting drunker, “We’ll… We’ll do some research on what Robbie did to ya tomorrow. I’m probably not going to remember too much of tonight, sorry. We’ll get you cleaned up, though, and get you back to that little… brother, right? That’s what BP said?” You leaned against a wall, glancing around to see if you were being followed, “We’ll get you back to your bro. Little siblings are important Sans, but I bet you knew that.” Your footsteps were getting more unsteady, “Shit. Shit I knew mindgames would bite me in the ass. I’m not hurting you, am I?” You watched him expectantly.

Sans didn’t respond. His breathing was still heavy through his… nose hole? And he was still making soft sounds, but he didn’t react to your words.

You narrowed your eyes, “I’m gonna kill Robbie if he broke you.” You growled, “Stay with me skeleton man, you’ve got a little brother you can’t leave behind.”

You thought Sans might have nodded, but you weren’t sure, and your eyes were definitely blurring.

The blurrily, shifting sight of your door was the most beautiful thing you could imagine, but it was amazingly difficult to fish your keys out of your pocket without dropping Sans, and it was equally difficult to keep ahold of him while opening the door.

Once you managed to get inside, and get the door shut and locked, you considered your options.

You didn’t really have a spare room, per se, there was your room, which had been your parents’ room once upon a time, and there was Remi’s room.

You headed to your room, and very slowly placed Sans on the bed.

“Okay buddy,” You were definitely slurring your words, and you hoped you were saying what you thought you were, “I’m gonna take the blindfold and tape off, first, okay? Then we’ll work with… We’ll work on getting your arms free.”

If Sans heard you, he didn’t respond.

Very carefully you reached up and slipped the blindfold off. You had been considering doing it on the way home, but you were more than a little worried that in your drunken state you would hurt him by jabbing a finger in his eye sockets or something as you walked. When the dark cloth was gone, you could see that the lights that were apparently Sans’s eyes were hazy and distant, like he wasn’t seeing this time or place.

You frowned, considering how distant Sans’s eyes were, you were a little nervous about taking the tape off since it wouldn't be easy keeping him quiet without it, but even the sight of it made you feel intensely guilty.

“Gotta do it all at once, it’ll hurt more if I do it slow.” You told Sans, even though you were pretty sure he wasn’t hearing you. You carefully worked one corner of the duct tape up and, biting your lip hard, pulled it off as quickly as you could.

Sans cried out and jerked, tears as blue as the blush on his cheek bones appeared in his eyes and falling. He began sobbing brokenly, but his eyes didn’t come back into focus. Wherever he was, he knew he’d been hurt and it still wasn’t enough to bring him back.

“I’m sorry, shit, I’m so sorry,” Without thinking about what you were doing you gathered Sans in your arms and began rocking and humming, seeking to comfort Sans the way you’d comforted Remi hundreds of times growing up. With one hand you held Sans close, and with the other you very carefully began working at the knot in the rope holding Sans’s hands together.

It was tight. You felt anger trying to burn through the alcohol as you realized just how tightly the rope had been tied. It wasn’t just holding Sans’s wrists together, either, it was wound through his bones and every move you made triggered another whimper from Sans.

He didn’t stop crying, and you weren’t sure at what point monsters became dehydrated, or if they did.

With a muffled curse you finally got the rope free and untangled it from Sans’s bones. His hands immediately came up and grabbed at his throat.

Wracked with sudden guilt you realized you’d forgotten the leash and tugged his hands away, gently working the leash off as well.

Sans’s breathing got deeper, but it was more even now, and he leaned into your chest, eyes wide and distant, but he seemed to sense that you meant him no harm. He had his head, where his ear would be, pressed to your chest and you wondered if he was listening to your heartbeat for comfort.

You took the hand that had been working out the knots and brushed it across Sans’s face, wiping away the tears staining his face. Sans’s breathing quickened and he leaned into your hand with a quiet moan.

Your face lit up.

It wasn't a moan of pain, or realization that he could be safe. The noise that Sans made was one hundred percent lust and it shot through you like a hot knife.

Bits of the conversation you’d heard at the bar drug sluggishly through your mind.

Desperate.

Over Sensitive.

The conversation mixed with what you were seeing, and hearing, from the skeleton.

You’d heard about monster heat, it was one of the things that hate groups had used to justify treating monsters less than human, more like animals.

Even in your drunken state you could put context clues together. Something Robbie had given Sans had either triggered his heat, or had put in into an artificial heat.

Sans’s breathing had picked up again, but for an entirely different reason now. He nuzzled into the hand you'd wiped his tears with and brought his arms up around the back of your neck, shifting his position so he wasn't sitting in your lap anymore, but straddling you.

“Sans, uh,” Drunk You was having a very hard time keeping track of what you were thinking as Sans lowered his face to the crook of your neck, “Not that you aren't attractive,” And oh stars above was he attractive, and the blue blush covering his face just made it all the worse, “Cause you are but-Ah!” You hadn't thought Sans had lips, but there were definitely lips on your neck, lips and a tongue and teeth making soft quick little nips that were quickly killing the last of your coherency, “Sans, Sans, no. You're-You've been drugged buddy, and drugs are a very strict no on the consent meter.”

“please,” Sans breathed, the first actual word you'd heard him say. His voice, husky, low, and needy caused a shiver to run down your spine, “please, i need this. i need you, please.”

Your breathing was definitely heavier than it had been, and there was a hot pool of desire in your lower belly. You'd done a lot of messed up stuff in life, you'd hurt people, you'd lied, stolen, even killed, but you took consent very serious. In any other situation, with this attractive monster grinding on you and begging to be touched, you wouldn't have hesitated.

But.

Sans wasn't really consenting. He was drugged, and messed up, and you were heavily considering going back on your word and wiping Robbie off the fucking map for doing this to anyone, let alone this attractive skeleton who had a brother to be watching out for.

“Fuck me running,” You hissed as Sans nibbled a particularly sensitive part of your neck, “Fuck, dammit,” Swearing was all you could seem to get out.

There was only one choice.

You stood shakily, supporting Sans against your chest as he continued his assault on your neck and wrapped his legs around your waist, and grabbed the comforter from your bed.

You wobbled into the bathroom, and, after a moment of consideration, laid down in the tub fully clothed.

Using your still booted foot you nudged the water to icy, and turned the shower head on.

Sans tensed the moment the water hit the back of his tank top, hands fisting against your shirt. Slowly, oh so slowly, he started to relax. He moved his face away from your neck and, after a moment, rested it against your chest, listening to your heart beat again.

“B-better?” You shivered.

“you s-sure know how t-to put a damper on the m-mood,” Sans said softly.

You nudged the water off and waited for what had accumulated in the tub to drain, before grabbing the comforter from where you had abandoned it on the floor and tugging it into the tub, over the two of you.

“C-consent is cool , and you're drugged, and I'm drunk.” You told him.

Sans didn't respond, but nestled into you, apparently calmed enough by the cold water to seek comfort instead of sex now. You pulled the comforter as tight against you both as you could, regretting your wet clothes and feeling vaguely like you might never be warm again.

Despite all that, you were actually exhausted, and the combination of your position, the faint thrumming from Sans’s bones, and the overall warmth the skeleton was starting to generate, started to get to you.

Before you fell asleep, you thought you heard Sans whisper a soft “thanks.”

Chapter Text

You woke to pounding.

It took you several seconds to realize it wasn’t just your head pounding in protest of too much concentrated alcohol all at once the night before, but that someone was beating on your door. You opened your eyes and squinted at the morning light creeping in your bathroom window.

It was early. Seven, maybe eight. Your back and neck were aching, and there was an unfamiliar weight on your chest.

Another round of knocking drew your attention again, and you very slowly sat up, holding the weight on your chest so it didn’t fall.

You looked around through squinted eyes and realized that you were in the bathroom. The weight on your chest, you discovered when you looked down, was a skeleton monster.

You remembered the previous night all at once, and dimly realized that the pounding at the door was probably Robbie and the lawyer to sign Sans’s contract over to you.

Very slowly you climbed out of the bathtub, every brush of your skin across bone made Sans shudder and make low moaning noises.

“Sans,” You croaked, leaving your slightly damp comforter behind in the tub, “Buddy, you awake?”

He wasn’t. He was reacting subconsciously to your presence, to your touch, and even as hungover as you were, you could feel yourself responding.

“Step one,” You stumbled down the hall and gently placed Sans on the couch, “Deal with this contract, step two call BP and figure out how to fix this heat thing.”

You yanked the door open as the person on the other side started pounding their fist against the door again.

“What took you so long?” Robbie demanded, then got a good look at the scowl on your face.

“You wanna reword that question?” You growled, squinting harder at the unfiltered light now coming in through your door.

“Uhm, I-” Robbie stepped back, “This is my lawyer, he drew up the contract between the monster and me.”

You didn’t even look at the lawyer, just stepped back with the door open, your glare still focused on Robbie.

He dropped his eyes and his lawyer swept in.

“I’m sorry,” Robbie muttered.

“You better believe you are, sorriest damn thing I’ve ever seen.” You growled, reaching out and grabbing him by the shirt collar, “Get in here before I change my mind and break your legs anyway.”

Robbie scurried past you, leading the lawyer into the kitchen, past the couch where Sans had curled into a small ball. You frowned slightly, since you were fairly certain you had laid Sans out straight, but slowly followed them into the kitchen.

“If I understand correctly Mx. _____, this is just a transfer of ownership?” The lawyer asked calmly.

“What if I wanted to change some conditions on the original contract?” You asked, walking past where the lawyer had set up at your kitchen table and grabbing a glass from the cupboard and filled it with water.

“Ah, unfortunately if you decided to change the terms of the contract then the monster would be required the serve out his terms With Mr. Grey before transferring to your ownership.” The lawyer stated delicately.

“Just a transfer of ownership then,” You drained the glass before filling it again, “What were the terms of the contract Robbie had with him?”

“He’s a prostitute,” Robbie said carefully, “He was supposed to continue working as a prostitute under me, and give me all the money he earned. He was also to, ah, serve me in any way I desired.”

Your grip on the cup tightened, and you didn’t turn around so they wouldn’t see the look on your face, “Gotcha. And breaking the contract?”

“I’m sorry?” The lawyer said slowly.

“If I die does he go free, that sort of thing. I want to know if I need to worry about friends or family coming after my head to free him.” You lied.

“Oh, well, per the terms of the contract the only way for it to end would be for the monster to fulfill his contracted time or pass away. If you die, he will be treated as part of your estate, and you may transfer his contract to any other human,” The lawyer explained, “Of course contracting a monster like this does have it’s own caveats.”

“Of course it does,” You turned around, leaned against the counter and started sipping your water, your eyes locked on the lawyer.

“You, uhm, he,” He began sweating, feeling distinctly like a prey animal being faced down by a large, hungry tiger, “Contracted monsters aren’t supposed to go more than fifty feet away from their masters, unless he is in your house and you go out, and of course you’ll need to have him tethered to you in some way in the streets. Law enforcement keeps a detailed registry on monsters who are contracted so that you are not impeded in your day to day life. He’ll be able to go into places with you, as long as you keep him tethered and close.”

“I see.” Your voice was flat, “Well, that’s all clear then.”

The lawyer very hesitantly inched the contract across the table towards you, “If you’ll just sign next to the X and initial in the smaller spaces indicated, I’ll take this down and give it to the right people so they know the monster belongs to you now and not Mr. Grey. This contract has been in place for a few days, so it may take a day or two to get the transfer through the system, so I suggest keeping him inside until then.”

You dug a pen out of your junk draw, your jaw clenched, and scanned over the contract. It said basically what Robbie had told you, though in a lot more legalese. The wording also stated that Sans had to ‘work for you’, not strictly continuing in the job he had been doing, which was good because you weren’t sure how long it would take you to find a loophole to free Sans, but there was no way you were going to force himself to prostitute himself while he was under your roof. You took a steadying breath before you signed it, “You have a copy for me, of course?”

Wordlessly the lawyer put an additional copy on the table.

“If you don’t need anything from me, I have a couple more questions for my friend Robbie here,” You smiled sharply at the lawyer.

“Oh, uhm, I just need him to sign here as a witness, and I’ll sign here…” The lawyer pulled a pen out and you wordlessly handed Robbie your pen.

The lawyer gathered up the papers and, doing his best to not look like he was running, hurried out of the kitchen, past Sans who still appeared to be asleep, and out the door.

“Robbie,” You carefully placed your glass on the counter before you met his eyes. He was glancing towards the front door, considering whether or not to make a run for it.

“You said you wouldn’t hurt me,” He reminded you.

“I did. I’m not going to hurt you-” Right now “-I just have a few questions for you.”

Robbie nodded tersely.

“You said you drugged him last night? With…” You searched through your bleary recollection of the previous evening, “With Ecstasy? How long will the effects last?”

“Yeah, a-a friend of mine told me… He told me that monsters can’t, uh, work through it like we can. They have to expend their magic to work it out, and it messes with their control enough they can’t use their magic normally,” Robbie said warily, “Ecstasy it sort of puts them into a heat, which is-”

“I know what monster heat is,” You interrupted.

“Right, well, I gave him a bit… It’d be an overdose for a human, but it doesn’t work the same on them so… yeah…” Robbie fidgeted, “It’ll last a month or so with regular customers. I didn’t… I gave it to him last night, no one’s had him since I gave him the ecstasy, but…” Robbie started eyeing you, “I know there’s a couple of vets… A couple that lost people in the Underwar and want monsters to suffer. If… if you don’t give him any release, it’ll just stay in his system. He’ll probably go crazy in a few months…”

“Thank you for the information,” You said softly, “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“No one will blame you, and since he’s under contract with you, you won’t even get in trouble for it,” Robbie seemed oddly excited about the idea, “And it would be fair after… after Remi. I couldn’t stop thinking about her after you left, if anyone didn’t deserve-”

You grabbed Robbie by the throat, and lead him out of the kitchen, your grip tight.

“I don’t want to hear you talk about her,” You snarled, “I don’t want to hear her name out of your mouth. You fucked my sister up when you left Robbie, and now you’re tainting her memory just by thinking about her, so leave and if I ever see you again I’ll rip your vocal cords out.” You yanked open the door and shoved him out, “Am I clear?”

Robbie massaged his neck, eyeing you warily, “Crystal,” He muttered.

“Go.” You slammed the door and turned, pressing your back to it. You closed your eyes so you didn’t have to look at the chair Remi had spent hours curled up in, drawing and sketching. You didn’t have to look into the kitchen and think about Saturday mornings making pancakes and listening to terrible cartoons. You didn’t have to remember walking into an empty house by yourself as all the ghosts of the past whispered their damning judgement to you…

Your pocket started buzzing and you shakily pulled your phone out of your pocket. A distant part of you was grateful that it still worked after the cold shower you had with Sans last night, but a greater part of you was trying to regulate your breathing and trying to focus on what you were reading.

‘Pills’

You swallowed hard and took a few more steadying breaths before you pushed off from the door. You hesitated a moment to make sure Sans was still sleeping before passing through the kitchen to grab your water and then heading for the bathroom.

You didn’t spare a glance at your damp comforter half in the tub and half on the floor, but pulled open the medicine cabinet and grab two prescription bottles, then after a moment’s hesitation you grab the aspirin as well. You weren’t looking forward to the conversation you were going to have with BP and there was no reason to make it harder by riding out your hangover headache.

You tap out one pill from each of the prescription bottles (Take one once daily with food/Take one twice daily) and two aspirin and took them all together and dismissed your alarm.

You closed the medicine cabinet and winced at the sight of your face. There were dark bags under your eyes, your hair was an absolute mess, and…

You leaned closer and peered harder.

You had blue on your cheek?

You glanced down and realized your fingertips were blue, too.

You shook your head and turned the faucet on, grabbing a washcloth and scrubbing at the blue. It did start to fade, but instead of washing away it just seemed to… soak into your skin.

The list of questions you had for BP was just getting longer and longer. You put the washcloth to the side and started composing a text as you walked back into the kitchen to make something quick for breakfast.

I have good news

I have bad news

I have a lot of questions

I found Sans

Does Sans have a significant other

I need to know about monster heats

You glared at your phone, then sighed and bit the bullet. You switched from your text thread with BP, opened up your contacts, and called him.

‘Please don’t be asleep, or at work,’ You prayed silently.

“Hello?” BP’s voice was unsure and wary.

“BP,” You sighed, “I’ve got… Shit dude, I have bad news, good news, a story, and a shit ton of questions. Probably in that order.”

“Go ahead, buddy,” BP said, voice picking up slightly now that he was assured it was actually you calling.

“Alright, bad news-and I’d appreciate if you could spread this to the people who need to know so damage control can be done-there’s this drug called ecstasy. It can apparently put monsters into a… heat.” Your stomach gave a twist of anxiety and you remembered you needed to at least drink a glass of milk or your medication was going to make you nauseous.

“That… That is bad news buddy. Shit. Are you sure?” BP sounded anxious.

You glanced towards the front room, “Yeah, pretty sure.”

“Fuck.” You heard the sound of a lighter on the other side of the phone, “And the good news?”

You pulled a gallon of milk from the fridge and filled your empty water glass, “Okay, so that’s actually a good/bad/good mix. The first good is I found Sans. The bad is that he… signed himself off in a contract. The second good is that the guy he signed himself over to owed me, so i was able to get his contract signed over to me and I’m going to start going over it to see how to break it with no one dying.”

There was a long silence from the other side of the phone, “How, uh, how connected is the second bit of news to the first?” BP asked slowly.

“That’s the story,” You took a quick drink of milk and walked into the front room to check on Sans. He still hadn’t moved from the little ball he had curled into. You shifted the phone so you were holding it against your ear with your shoulder and grabbed the throw blanket off the back of the couch and covered Sans up, “It’s like this, I don’t know why, but Sans contracted himself with this asshole named Robbie a few days ago. I don’t know what happened in the interim, but last night Robbie drugged Sans, and then took him to my friend’s bar, where I saw him, and got him out as fast as I could.”

“Shit.”

“Yeah, no I agree. That’s why I have questions. The first is does Sans have a girlfriend, or boyfriend, or significant other of any kind? Because if Robbie is to be believed, he’s got at least a month of heat to look forward to and I would feel a lot better if he could see it through with someone he was already romantically involved with.” You ignored the jealous twinge in your chest at the thought and wandered back into the kitchen.

“No, not that I’m aware of… Sans is, uh, pretty dedicated to his brother. Wouldn’t have prostituted himself out for any reason except to keep his brother safe and happy.” BP said softly.

You winced, “Yeah, okay, I know that feeling. Dammit, in that case what do I need to know about monsters in heat? Cause he can’t… I’m not gonna whore him out, and he can’t be more than fifty feet away from me or some shit until I break this contract.”

There was a long silence and you pulled your phone away to check and make sure you hadn’t lost the call.

“BP?”

“I don’t… I don’t know where to start, buddy. There’s a lot of stuff little monsters learn, but I don’t know how to explain it all to you in… in the best way to help Sans?”

You cursed quietly, “I need something, BP. I don’t want Sans to get hurt because I didn’t know something.”

“Buddy… Buddy, there’s stuff that I don’t know if you can do because you’re human. Like, Monsters in heat need a lot of magic rich food? And I know humans used to be able to do magic, but I haven’t seen any currently and…” He trailed off and you dug in your pocket in realization, pulling out the small bag of monster candy in triumph.

“The candy you gave me, will that help?”

“A little, for a bit… I’ve got an idea, buddy, but it’s going to take me a bit, and I know you try to keep your various dealing away from your house, but I’m gonna need-”

You rattled off your address without hesitation, “Want me to text it to you? My personal issues have to be set aside for the moment, this is a serious situation and any help I can get for Sans is my top priority right now.”

“Right, uh, thanks buddy. If you could text me your address that’d be great, but I think I’ve got it. I’m going to do some things and try to get you some help, okay?”

“Yeah, thanks BP. Oh, and don’t forget to call Sans’s brother? He can’t really… go home right now, but he deserves to know Sans is… is okay.”

BP’s voice softened significantly, “I’ll do that, no worries.”

You nodded to yourself, “Okay, so get some monster candy in Sans and wait for you to get someone here to help. Gotcha. Anything else urgent you can think of?”

“No, just hang in there, okay buddy? And… Sans is usually a pretty smart monster, so he’ll probably have a good idea of what he needs.” BP sounded hesitant.

“Got it.” You said slowly, then hesitated, “Uh, bye for now BP.”

“Bye.”

Gods he sounded almost as awkward as you did. You ended the call, shot off the text, and leaned against the counter to finish your milk.

Okay, so BP was going to send someone over to give you the monster equivalent of The Talk. That was no big deal, you could handle it, you gave Remi The Talk, after all, and that didn’t kill either of you, so this would be fine.

It was going to be intensely embarrassing and you were incredibly thankful you didn’t have any deliveries due today or tomorrow because if it was anything like giving Remi The Talk you were going to be red for at least a day.

“For Sans,” You muttered to yourself, “You’ll do it for the skeleton guy.”

To a stranger, even one who wasn’t racist, it would probably seem a little odd how far you were willing to go for this monster you hadn’t met before last night, but for you it had been over the moment BP had mentioned Sans’s little brother. The cat monster hadn’t even thought to mention a parent of any kind, even in a ‘and no one wants the kid to lose anyone else’ kind of way, which spoke a lot to you. It was the same way people had talked about Remi in regards to you.

Like you were all they had.

You had failed to protect Remi, so you were willing to go a long way to make sure nothing happened to this pair of siblings.

“hey.”

You jerked your head up and stared at Sans who was leaning against the doorway, trying to pretend nonchalance. The way his shoulders heaved and the blue in his face gave him away, however.

“You’re awake.” You sighed in relief.

“yeah, uh, have been for a little bit,” Sans admitted.

You considered the conversation you’d just had with BP, “About how long?”

“i think i really woke up around the good/bad/good news mix,” He gave you a faint smile, “so, i guess you’re my new master, huh?”

“No.” You shook your head vehemently, “Fuck no. I’m _____, I’ll be your friend, your, uh, stress relief partner, and anything inbetween but I’m not your master.”

Sans eyed you thoughtfully, “stress relief partner? is that what we’re gonna call it?”

“Lover? Paramour? Bed mate?” You exhaled slowly, “Look, if you’ve got someone else you’d rather help out I’ll get them here for you, but until I get that contract figured out you’ve got to stay close to me and I’m not willing to let you go insane.”

“so we’ll have sex regardless?” Sans asked, and you thought his voice might have gone a bit quieter.

“Well, if you’re unwilling I’ll just have to romance the fuck out of you,” You declared. Sans’s eyes widened in surprise and you grinned at him.

Then his balance shifted and he dropped to your kitchen floor, hard.

“Shit, Sans!” You darted over to help him up, “I was kidding, I mean kind of, but I’m not going to make you do anything you don’t want-”

Your hands brushed across his ribs as you went to help him up and like a switch was flipped his eyes went out of focus and he let out a low whimper.

You almost withdrew your hands, but you’d already started lifting him and you weren’t willing to drop him back on the floor.

“f-fuck,” Sans breathed, “o-okay. are you sure you want to do this?”

You looked down at his face and felt your breathing pick up a bit in response to what you saw.

“Yeah, I want to help you Sans, in anyway you need,” You told him lowly.

“okay,” Sans nodded, “okay, then i’m really going to need you to s-stop messing around and touch me already.”

You scooped him up like you had last night and started walking.

“w-what are you doing?” Sans demanded.

“Taking you to the bedroom,” You answered, even as your face flushed, “I’m not gonna… you deserve better than the floor in the middle of my kitchen and living room, alright?”

Behind the haze of lust and need, Sans managed to look at you incredulously.

Chapter Text

You didn’t respond to his look, but kicked your bedroom door shut behind you and laid the skeleton out on the bed and stepped back slightly.

“You’re going to need to help me out a bit, bone boy,” You murmured, “You’re my first skeleton.”

Sans shook his head, “p-please just fucking touch me before i lose my mind,” He begged.

You considered him for a moment more before straddling his thighs and pulling his shirt off. Very much like he had the previous night, you started at his neck. It was tentative at first, a lick, a kiss, a nibble, but when Sans responded with a loud groan and fisted his hands in the back of your shirt you got a little more daring.

Very lightly you ghosted your hands across his ribs and grinned to yourself when he huffed and pulled you closer, trying to maximize how much of you was touching him.

Then you felt something you absolutely had not expected.

You sat up and looked down curiously at Sans’s pants, which were glowing blue in a very revealing shape.

“Well,” You said huskily, “I knew you were a skeleton, but I didn’t realize you could pop a boner.”

Sans looked up at you, panting and eyes wide in awe, “did you… did you just pun at me?” He demanded

You went red, “Oh, yeah, sorry… It’s kind of a habit I-”

He reached up and yanked you by the front of your shirt down into a kiss, “will you get a move on and just bone me already?”

You grinned and kissed him, “That was a terrible joke.”

“who said i was joking?”

“Hold still, I’m not done teasing you,” You murmured.

He was so… cute. His eyes were hazy and as you explored his ribs, first with your fingers, then with your mouth, he whimpered and moaned and made little noises that make that little ball of heat in your lower stomach almost ache with how much you wanted him.

There was something… Something in his ribs and without thinking you reached through and stroked what appeared to be a small inverted blue heart.

“S-s-s-” Sans’s breathing was ragged and you pulled your hand back, watching him.

“that’s my… it’s my soul.” Sans explained, catching his breath.

“Oh, Sans,” Your eyes went wide, “I’m sorry I didn’t-”

“it’s okay. it felt good,” Sans assured you, “like… like this,” He placed a hand on your chest and your breath caught.

Whatever Sans was doing, it was flooding you with heat unlike anything you’d felt before. Slowly he took his hand away from your chest and you realized you’d stopped breathing.

“S-so it didn’t feel bad,” You said faintly.

“no,” sans agreed, “not bad at all… but uhm, would you… could you…?”

You nodded understandingly and, with one last long look at Sans’s soul, you moved on. You moved lower, ghosting across his ribs again, and tentatively ran a hand against the inside of his spine.

Sans arched, his hands fisting into the sheets under him and the sound he made, made your mouth go completely dry. An odd sensation flooded you from every spot your skin was in contact with his bones, like an electrical current but not nearly as painful.

You looked up at Sans’s face, and he was watching you.

“sorry, my vertebrae are a little... sensitive… especially after what you’ve been doing...” His blush darkened even more.

“I’ll remember,” You promised, “Are you still… Do you want to continue?”

“please.” Sans groaned.

Slowly you pulled his pants down.

Based on the fact that his pants had been glowing, and that he wasn’t human, you had been expecting something… Wild, off the wall, you weren’t sure, actually, what you had been expecting.

Other than the fact that it was blue, glowing, and attached to a skeleton, it looked like a human’s penis, although he was covered in a blue liquid. His vertebrae were apparently very sensitive, especially after you’d been playing with his ribs for a while, if it was enough to make him cum once already.

Curious you stroked Sans’s shaft and he inhaled sharply and arched into your hand. He felt smooth, almost like glass but warm, and had a strange energy feeling almost like an older TV that had static gathered on it’s glass screen.

“P-please stop teasing me?” Sans panted softly.

You felt incredibly aware of him as you moved down and leaned forward. You weren’t exactly innocent, but there was something about Sans that was so much more… Real, more intense than anything else in your life right now.

Tentatively you flicked your tongue across the tip of his head.

He tasted like fresh blueberries, and the air before a storm. Sans whimpered and you took his head in your mouth.

“oh stars above,” Sans whimpered and, still working your hand over his shaft you swirled your tongue teasingly over his head, enjoying the soft little huffs and moans he continued to make.

“please... i’m… please, i’m gonna…” Sans panted and you sped up, taking him a little farther with each bob of your head.

With a wordless cry Sans jerked and you swallowed reflexively as (cum? Magic? What in the world were you getting yourself into) hit the back of your throat.

Sans chest heaved and he looked down at you with clear, bright eyes, the expression on his face indescribable as you pulled back and released him, watching curiously as the blue magic faded away.

“you’re… you’re something else, you know?” Sans asked softly.

“Am I?” You asked curiously. To your surprise, instead of feeling worked up like you had only moments before, you were suddenly exhausted.

“totally beyond description.” Sans assured you as you climbed up next to him and laid on your side. Sans curled into your chest obligingly and relaxed, “are you… did you want me to…?”

“Could actually do with a nap, actually.” You admitted, “But later, if you’re up for it…?”

“yes, stars yes.” Sans agreed instantly.

You grinned lightly wrapped an arm around Sans. He shifted slightly in your grasp for a few seconds.

“You okay? I’ll move if you’re uncomfortable?” You were finding it surprisingly hard to keep your eyes open.

“i’m fine, i just… wanted to be able to hear your heart.” He murmured.

You tried to say something, to tell him to wake you up if he woke up, to tell him about the monster candy you’d left on the kitchen counter, but the thrumming you could feel in his bones was syncing with your heartbeat and without meaning to, you felt yourself fading off.

***~***

You woke feeling, for the first time in a very long time, well rested. You opened your eyes and peered blearily at the alarm clock, resisting the urge to groan when you realized it was past four o’clock. Despite having slept most of the day away, you couldn't bring yourself to regret how at peace you felt.

Very carefully you slipped out of the bed, bunching a spare blanket up in the spot you had been in when Sans grumbled unhappily in his sleep at your absence. You waited a moment to make sure he wouldn’t wake up before slipping out the door and heading for the kitchen to retrieve the monster candy on the counter before you forgot again. You snagged a piece of paper off the pad you used to write grocery lists and wrote ‘For You’ on it, before sneaking into your room and placing both right in front of Sans so he’d see it as soon as he woke up.

That done you carefully shut the door to your room and paused to consider your house. Your comforter was still in the bathroom, your living room was decent shape considering you didn’t remember the last time you’d actively cleaned it, but your kitchen definitely needed to be picked up, and you were suddenly doubly grateful you had taken Sans into your bedroom. You glanced down at yourself and winced, incredibly aware that you had just slept (twice) in the clothes you’d worn yesterday.

First thing was first, you snuck back into your room and grabbed a set of clean pajamas (because at this point you weren’t going to go anywhere, so getting dressed was a little pointless), then tossed your dirty clothes and your comforter into the washer. You hopped into the shower and got clean as fast as you could, feeling distinctly more human when you got out.

Freshly washed and in clean clothes, you padded into the kitchen to stick the dishes in the dishwasher, and pick up the bits and pieces of mail you’d tossed onto the table throughout the week. You fell into a comfortable lull rinsing the dishes off and putting them in the dishwasher, easing some of the tension that had been inevitable after everything that had happened in the past twenty-four hours.

Out of all the things you expected from your monster helping tendencies, becoming part of the contract system was one of the last. You were aware of contracted monsters, it was hard not to be with authorities being more vigilant in making sure contracted monsters were following the laws they were under than they were in actually keeping people safe, but the whole system was basically slavery, and sickened you.

You grimaced when you were a little more forceful than necessary shoving a pan in the dishwasher and went still, listening to make sure you hadn't woken Sans.

The house was totally silent save for the humming of your washing machine and you quickly finished the dishes and moved on to your kitchen table.

Halfway through organizing the mail, you spotted the contract and picked it up, scanning through it. A paragraph in, you winced and retrieved your grocery list pad and started making notes and summarizing what you were reading, cleaning completely forgotten.

There were definitely some things you had missed in the first read through, such as a sentence tucked in the middle of a paragraph stipulating that Sans could have no monster contact unless you were there to supervise. That one made you put your pen down for a moment and rub your eyes because no one should have to have supervision to speak with their friends and family. You wondered what in the world had convinced Sans to actually sign this thing, and what had even brought the small skeleton to Robbie's attention in the first place.

A knock at the door startled you from your thoughts and you frowned in confusion, trying to think who would be visiting you…

Oh. Right. BP said he would send someone over to have The Monster Talk with you.

Suddenly regretting your choice of pajamas (You’d chosen a fuzzy black pair with red lips all over it that Quin had gotten you as a gag gift at some point in the last year), you placed the notepad right under the line you’d just read so you wouldn’t lose your spot and braced yourself as you walked through the front room and answered the door.

You looked up… and up… and up, and about two and a half feet above your head you met the eyes of a goat woman wearing a large dark cloak.

“Hello, I am Toriel,” She greeted you softly.

“I’m, uh, _____,” You opened the door, grateful for the first time for the peaked ceilings that had been such a pain in the ass to clean as a kid, “Come in?”

“Yes, it is probably for the best that I don’t linger outside, your neighbors may get suspicious,” Toriel agreed, ducking her head to walk through the doorway and lowering her hood when you shut the door behind her.

“Believe it or not, you aren’t exactly the first visitor to come to my door wearing a cloak,” You admitted. At Toriel’s odd glance you elaborated, “My little sister…  was kind of on a Tolkien kick in high school and my best friend was an enabler and…” Reality pounced. You were standing in your living room, wearing fuzzy pajamas, with the Queen of Monsters (whom you’d been smuggling medicine to via a cat monster for two weeks, and several other items before the medicine) watching you. “It’s a… really long story…” You trailed off weakly.

“I see,” She probably didn’t, but you thought she might be taking pity on you based on how hot your face was flushing, “I am here to talk to you about Sans.”

You nodded and gestured to the sofa, all business at the mention of the skeleton in your bed, “Please, take a seat. He’s asleep right now, but I can wake him up if you want…?”

“No,” Toriel shook her head, “No if he is asleep let him rest. He has had little enough time for it in the past months.” Very carefully she sat down, looking much too large for your old couch.

Something tightened in your chest, in the same spot Sans had touched you earlier, at the thought of why Sans wouldn’t have been able to rest and one of your hand drew unwillingly into a fist. You bit the inside of your cheek hard to force yourself to calm and sat down in your faded armchair, nodding at Toriel, “So… where would you like to start?”

“First, if you would not be terribly upset, I was wondering if you would be opposed to giving me a copy of the contract binding Sans to you?” Toriel asked carefully.

“Not at all, maybe you’ll be able to see something I don’t,” You responded instantly, “I’ve only got the one copy right now, but I can get it photocopied and get it to you, along with the notes I’ve taken so far.”

“The notes?” Toriel seemed taken aback.

“It’s not a lot right now,” You admitted, “I only started, uhm, maybe fifteen, twenty minutes ago? I didn’t… I haven’t really had a chance to go over it today, but I’m planning on spending as much time as I can trying to find a loophole for Sans.”

“You are?” Toriel frowned slightly, looking at you closely, “You are.” The second seemed more of a statement.

You nodded slowly, “This… Isn’t an ideal situation. Maybe if I were less rash I could have thought of some way to get Sans away without getting the contract, but I kind of panicked when I saw who Sans was with and just went with the first solution to come to mind.”

Toriel sat back slightly, scrutinizing you with an unreadable expression. To your discomfort, her eyes kept flickering to your chest.

“I do not have much reason to trust humans.” Toriel said abruptly, “A long time ago humans sealed my entire race below ground, people I considered friends participated in the sealing. Not that long ago for me, but perhaps still long ago for you, I lost my son to humans when he managed to venture past the barrier with the assistance of my second child. I will admit monsters began the war that waged when our people were freed, but humans wasted very little time in making sure we knew we were less than animals when they won.”

You closed your eyes for a moment, taking a moment to hate your own species, before you took a steadying breath.

“My parents were not good humans, they were not bad, but they weren’t very good either. I practically raised my sister from the time I was five, and I did raise my sister from when I was thirteen onward,” You met Toriel’s eyes, “She died in the Underwar, in my arms. The last thing she asked of me was to be good, to be good to monsters specifically. She’s all I had. I’m not comparing my loss to yours but… I promised her. The last promise I could make to her, and I have no intention of breaking it. I’m not asking you to trust me, I’m asking you to help me so I can help Sans.”

Toriel relaxed visibly, “I believe you, and what is more, I believe Sans trusts you, so I will trust you. I genuinely believe you are a kind person.”

“Kind?” You shook your head, “Me? No, I’m just… just trying…”

Toriel smiled a secret smile, “Why don’t we begin with monster heat and we’ll move on to the magic I must teach you.”

“Magic?” You asked in surprise, “You’re going to teach me magic? Isn’t that forbidden though? I’m almost positive I read something about that being forbidden.”

“It is not practical for myself or Burgerpants to constantly be coming to you with Monster Food, and while we may subsist on human food, Monster Food is vital for a monster in heat… your magic, in particular, will be important in the days to come. Asgore will understand my reasoning, and will spare you any consequence when I have a chance to explain.”

“My magic-Spare? I… I hope you know you’re confusing me more and more.” You admitted with a wince.

Toriel nodded sympathetically, “Things will not get easier, my child, I am sorry. I will do my best to guide you, but it has been… a very long time since a human and a monster have done what you have begun.”

You frowned slightly, “That… was vague and I suspect deliberately cryptic.”

Toriel smiled and reached over to ruffle your hair, “Let us begin with the Basics of Monster Heat.”

Chapter Text

“A heat’s primary purpose is for reproduction.” Toriel told you in a tone that made you feel like you should be taking notes, “While conception is not guaranteed, it is only possible during a heat. For monsters it requires positive emotions, a sharing of souls, and some magic. The sexual feelings that a monsters feel are because most become more emotionally open and it is generally a positive experience.” Her eyes were serious and you nodded your understanding.

“How long do monster heats usually last?” You asked, hoping the month long experience was something Sans could be prepared for a tiny bit.

“Three days, sometimes six for a particularly strong monster.”

You closed your eyes.

“Can I assume from your face that the artificial heat facing Sans will be longer?” She prompted.

“A month, roughly, or so I was told…”

“Burgerpants did not mention, though he was fairly agitated,” Toriel shook her head and stood, you rose to your feet as well, not sure what she was planning on doing, “Something very important is magical food, it assists in replacing the magic a monster will expend on a heat. Generally our bodies create enough magic on their own, but on a heat release tends to expend more magic than we create. In any other situation this duty would be taken up by a significant other, or nearby family as a monster’s magic is unstable during a heat. We are incapable of most magics, save for those connected to the process of procreation and mating, and having magic that we are familiar with cook for us a comfort, but…” Toriel looked at your chest again, then glanced in the direction of your bedroom, “I believe your magic will be more helpful to Sans’s overall condition.”

“What does that mean, exactly?” You asked as Toriel lead you into the kitchen.

“Well, for one, if you wish to maintain your anonymity then it will be easier on you to not have monsters coming through your house constantly. For another, you plan on… assisting Sans through this heat yes?”

You nodded, “According to the asshole that started all of this, Sans can’t get the… the drugs out of his system unless he, uhm, works through it. We sort of talked about it.”

Toriel nodded in understanding, “In that case having him become used to your magic will assist you both when he becomes… less than coherent. You know how to cook?”

“Yeah, of course. What do you mean less than coherent?”

“Gather some ingredients and I shall begin to walk you through how to create magical food,” Toriel instructed, “Some days of heat Sans will lose coherence. He will be very reliant on touch in those times, and he may not even understand you if you speak to him. To get him to eat, or follow any simple directions, it will go a long way to have him familiar with your soul and the most appropriate way to do that would be to through your magic.”

“So eating magical food is like eating bits of soul?” You winced, grabbing the things you’d need to make a quick and simple pasta dish for the sake of time.

“Goodness no,” Toriel made a face at the suggestion, “Magic is generated by the soul. Eating magical food made by one person is a good way to get to know them, as it opens you to… understanding them, I suppose. I apologize, it has been a very long time since I’ve had to explain this to a human.”

“I bet,” You agreed, glancing at Toriel as you placed your ingredients on the counter, very aware that monsters had been underground for nearly a thousand years, “That’s why Kind Asgore has made it so hard for humans to get ahold of magical food, right? One reason, anyway.”

“Mm,” Toriel had a strange look on her face at the mention of the King, “Yes he did fight very hard to keep that away from humanity when we gave our surrender.”

You looked away, “Look, I know you said this would be good for Sans, but I really don’t mind getting magical food a different way. You don’t have to teach me… I don’t want to put you in a difficult position.”

Toriel cupped your cheek in her paw and turned your head to look at her, “You are not putting me in a difficult position, my child. If any issue comes of this I am more than capable of handling Asgore. I would ask that you not distribute the food that you create, though I understand it is a temptation-”

“No.” You cut her off, moving away from her attempts at comforting you with the gestured excuse of gathering a pot to cook the pasta, and a pan for the sauce, “It really won’t be. I’ll definitely do this for Sans but I don’t really want people getting a taste of my, uh, soul. I don’t get too close to a lot of people.”

Toriel watched you seriously, “You will get close to Sans,” She warned, “You can feel it already, can’t you? Even should you choose to not pursue a romantic relationship after this month is done, you will have shared enough of yourselves to be friends at the very least.”

You glanced at the contract on the table, “Can you have any kind of a relationship with someone who owns you?” You asked darkly, “Nah, I think… I think when this is done it’ll be best for Sans to be very, very far away from me. He doesn’t deserve to be reminded of being forced into all this, and what use is a friend who reminds you of bad things?”

Toriel shook her head, “My child, we do not remember our friends only for how the friendships began. Do you have any intention of forcing Sans to do something he doesn’t want to? Or hurting him?”

“No,” You answered immediately, “But it’s not the same. He could feel compelled to do something I asked, simply because of the damned contract. It isn’t right.”

Toriel nodded, “Well, I cannot disagree with your dislike of this contract, or the system as a whole, but I genuinely believe that if Sans does not want to do something he will not unless you pressure him into it.”

“Not gonna happen,” You told yourself as well as Toriel.

“I believe you. Now if you will follow my instructions we can being your lesson,” Toriel retrieved the pot from you and placed it in the sink, “There is magic in every step of the process, and you must not worry if things turn out a little off your first few times.”

You nodded and stepped to her side.

Toriel’s paw started to move, but then she paused, “Ah, forgive me I forget my manners. It really has been a long time since I have taught someone to do this, and even longer since it was a human. Do I have permission to draw out your soul? It will make learning this easier. I do understand you have not known me for very long, but you may rest assured I will not touch it.”

“Is touching souls a, uh, big thing?” You asked guiltily.

“It can be,” Toriel nodded, “A soul touched with malicious intent can be harmed, and of course your soul being destroyed will kill you. Generally you would only touch the soul of someone you were close to so that you did not accidentally harm them with a malicious thought.”

“Ah,” You nodded, “Right, uh, well… Feel free to… draw it out? I guess?”

Toriel watched you for a moment, giving you a chance to withdraw your consent, then reached out again and beckoned.

The world felt like it changed around you. You were suddenly very aware of your house as a whole. It was felt like… like you. It was the sensation of putting on your favorite hoodie, or picking up a book you’d reread constantly as a child, or curling up with your favorite blanket on a rainy day.

At the same time you hadn’t felt Remi’s loss so keenly in awhile.

As much as you seemed to imbue your house, there was an undertone of her. You could almost see her curled around a pad of paper, color pencils stuck in her bun so she could stay curled on the couch and not worry about any of her pencils rolling away.

“_____?” Toriel said softly and you realized you had closed your eyes.

“Sorry,” Your voice was gruff and you shook your head, trying to focus.

“No, I am sorry. I forgot how it felt to have your senses awakened for the first time,” Toriel looked worried, and you looked away from her concerned gaze, not used to dealing with anyone seeing you so… compromised.

Your gaze fell on your soul.

Unlike Sans’s soul, yours was a heart right side up. Instead of a bright and steady blue it was dark green with wisps of gold moving across the surface. It hovered about six inches away from your chest, right where Sans had touched you.

“That’s me?” You asked softly.

“Green souls tend to be very kind,” Toriel told you softly, “Your bravery and sense of justice appear to be a defining characteristic of You, as well.”

You cupped your hands around your soul and drew it up to get a better look, “I’m not kind,” You reminded her, “I’ve hurt people, I’ve killed people, and I’ll likely do it again.”

Toriel tilted her head slightly, watching you with a clear, unwavering gaze, “Perhaps,” She acknowledged, “I am merely telling you what your soul shows. You can be kind and cause hurt, they are not mutually exclusive.”

You dropped your hands and nodded, “Yeah, I guess. So, magic lessons? I left the monster candy you sent with BP in with Sans but I don’t know how well that’ll sustain him.”

“Of course,” Toriel turned your sink on and started to fill the pot, turning away from you slightly. You took the opportunity to carefully push down the storm inside that the sense of Remi had raised to deal with later.

Toriel turned and handed you the pot, “We’ll begin with fire magic, it makes cooking go much faster,” She advised you, “Focus on your soul, and Feel Fire. Feel the heat, the sensations of flames flickering.”

You frowned slightly at her and looked down into the water. Feel Fire? It wasn’t exactly something you could safely touch but…

You closed your eyes again and considered fire.

The first thing that came to mind was a summer night a very long time ago, before your dad had disappeared. Remi had been a little toddler, and you were just a kid. Your dad had made a little fire pit in the back yard and the three of you had stayed up until the sun rose while he told the two of you stories about men living in mountains and listening to the words of old gods.

You pulled on that, remembering the smell of wood smoke and the crackling sound of the flames, the heat on your skin when you got too close, the charring of the wood, and the warm feeling of family.

You opened your eyes, keeping the fire fixed firmly in your mind and glanced at your soul. Toriel had said to focus on it, but there was… almost a tugging, a want to be…

You mentally beckoned your soul and a stream of green fire moved from the center of your soul to your hands, warming the pan in your grip.

“Very good,” Toriel beamed at you, “Can you keep the flames around the pan when you let go?”

You placed the pan on the stove and very carefully released it. A glowing imprint of your hands remained, still flickering with the magical green fire, and as you turned back to Toriel you realized your soul was staying in the spot she’d originally summoned it to, about six inches above your chest.

“Magic is very desire base, if you want it and can picture it, then generally you can do it. Something's come easier to different monsters, and humans generally had a talent they were very good with as well… such as barriers…” Toriel turned and retrieved the pasta, “You can create food from magic, but it will be easier in the beginning if you use what you have at hand. You just want to push magic into, will it to heal, to sustain.”

You took the noodles from Toriel and beckoned your magic from your soul, pulling on memories of band aids, antibiotic ointment, gauze, and tea after a long day, hot chocolate when the world was white with snow, trying to put healing for the soul as well as the body into your magic. Again a thin stream of green fire trailed from your soul and surrounded the pasta, but the noodles absorbed the fire instead of being heated by it and after a moment they would accept no more magic.

“Hm,” Toriel mused, “It seems you have an affinity for fire magic.”

“Is that good?” You asked, looking down at the noodles. Outwardly they appeared unchanged, but the with new perception your soul had granted to you they contained a feeling of you, similar to what permeated the house.

“Fire can destroy, but it can heal as well. It will be interesting to watch the path life takes you on.” Toriel smiled.

She guided you through imbuing all the other ingredients with your magic, and then combining them in the pot of boiling water. Instead of using any utensils, or draining the water, Toriel had you imbue magic into the water, and then use it as a guiding force to mix everything together. The pot you had pulled out for the sauce lay forgotten as you mixed it in the same pot as the noodles, using the water as a tool that could be any shape.

Part of you regretted that you wouldn't be able to do all of your cooking like this, it was easy once you got the hang of it, and there was a lot of freedom that you didn’t usually have.

Finally you dismissed the fire you’d summoned and a finished pot of pasta sat on the stove. You hadn’t had to taste it to season it, you’d felt when to stop seasoning with everything you’d put in, you’d even sensed when the noodles had been perfectly done.

“That was… fun.” You offered a tentative smile to Toriel, “Thank you, I-”

Something felt off. Panic you didn’t understand welled in you and you darted towards your bedroom without an explanation to Toriel. You were through your bedroom door and had scooped Sans up before you had registered what you had really done. Green flames surrounded the two of you in a defensive shield as you scanned the room.

“_____?” Toriel hesitated at the doorway, looking at you with wide eyes.

You looked down and met Sans’s eyes. His left eye was flickering blue and yellow, but as the panic you had felt dissipated, it faded back to the white glow you were used to.

You looked back up at Toriel, realizing that you had absolutely no explanation for your actions.

“Ah,” You said eloquently, “Sans is… awake?”

“sorry, i had a nightmare,” Sans said softly.

That in no way explained your actions, but you nodded.

“_____, the fire?” Toriel prompted.

Very carefully you set Sans back down on the bed and dismissed the fire.

“It is alright,” Toriel soothed, “Your senses are higher right now, and you are very attuned to this place. It will be easier, eventually. You may have sensed that Sans was distressed.”

“tori? when did you get here?” Sans asked softly.

“A little bit ago, I have been helping _____ prepare to assist you,” Toriel told him.

“kay,” Sans acknowledged, “but why is their soul out?”

“Oh yeah,” You looked down, “That’s… I should not run into danger with that out. Could you put it back Toriel?”

Toriel glanced at Sans and hesitated, “I do agree you should not rush into danger when your innermost self is exposed, but perhaps Sans should return your soul to where it belongs?”

You turned your attention back to Sans, and noticed his left eye was flickering between the blue/yellow combination and the white, and he…

If you didn’t know better, you’d think he was glaring at Toriel.

“Sans?” You prompted.

“oh, uh yeah.” Sans looked back up at you, and his expression relaxed. Without warning he reached out and pushed your soul into your chest with his hand.

Your breath caught, the same heat from this morning flooded you, but it was tinged with something else. A fierce feeling you couldn't identify.

Toriel watched you both with a secretive smile, “Sans, _____ has made dinner, you should eat and replenish your strength.”

“i... i should do that, yeah.” Sans agreed. He glanced between you and Toriel, and you realized all of a sudden that, save for the sheets you’d grabbed when you grabbed him, Sans was naked.

“We’ll wait for you in the kitchen,” You said immediately, darted to the door and very gently nudging Toriel out, “Just… Call for me if you need anything.”

You flicked the light on and closed the door to give Sans some privacy.

Toriel reached into her cloak and pulled out a small bag, “I forgot to mention I brought some of Sans’s belongings,” She handed you the bag.

You glanced down at it, “Ah, I’ll… I’ll just…” You opened the door again and slipped through the tiny space, not sure how to deal with the part of you that was bristling at Toriel having seen so much of Sans.

‘Stop it,’ You hissed at your own brain, ‘He isn’t yours.’

You turned and, again, met Sans’s eyes. He was holding the sheet up and you’d caught him in the middle of inspecting his pants, which definitely had some blue on them from this morning’s activities.

Unwittingly you glanced down at him, remembering trailing your hands across his ribs, the feel of him under you, the sound of his voice…

“Toriel-You’re uhm… I think it’s clothes.” You took a few steps and held the bag out, your mouth very dry suddenly.

“thanks,” Sans said shyly, taking the bag.

“I’ll be, I mean we’ll be in the kitchen. We as in Toriel and me. Me and Toriel. Uhm. Waiting for you, not that there’s any rush you’re okay to take your time but we’ll be there. Unless you need me, then I’ll be here.” You stumbled over your words.

Sans watched you a little wide eyes, blue spreading across his cheekbones.

“I’ll be in the kitchen.” You slipped back out the door.

“_____?” Toriel was still standing there.

“Kitchen?” You cleared your throat slightly, “I, uh, I need some water all of a sudden. Do you need anything to drink?”

“You need water?” Toriel sounded amused as she followed you back into the kitchen.

“Yeah, I’m uh…” You thought of Sans blushing, the smooth feeling of ivory under your skin, “I… am super thirsty all of a sudden.”

Chapter Text

You downed one glass of water under Toriel’s amused watch, then after a moment’s consideration you down a second. It made you feel a bit sloshy, but it definitely helped with the dryness in your throat and the burn of lust that thinking of Sans caused.

“I… I hope I am not being terribly rude, but would you mind if I had a quick moment alone with Sans when he comes out?” Toriel asked gently.

“Uh, no, not at all.” You cast your mind furiously for someway to leave them alone without being able to overhear everything. Unintentionally you cast out your new senses as well and frowned at an odd sensation, before realizing what it was.

“Laundry!” You blurted and Toriel blinked in surprise. You colored slightly, “I mean, I forgot I was doing laundry, I’ll just… I’ll be in the, uh, laundry room. If you need me.” You started back towards the hallway before pausing and doubling back, turning the hot water in the sink on. “It’ll turn the hot water heater on when I’m in there,” You explained at Toriel’s curious glance, “It’s older, gets a little loud.”

“You do not have to-” Toriel started to protest.

“A moment alone,” You interrupted, “It’s the least I can do.”

“The least you could have done would have been to do nothing, or to tell Burgerpants where Sans was and not inconvenience yourself in the slightest.” Toriel stepped forward and placed both her paws on your shoulders, “Everyone who loves Sans, and there are many of us, we all owe you a deal of gratitude.” She pressed a motherly kiss to your temple and you felt all your blood rushing to your face.

“W-well, I… I just… I’m just trying to do a good-to be a good person, I mean.” You stammered. Toriel glance over your shoulder and smiled.

“You are succeeding.”

You turned and saw Sans leaning in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. He was flushed, but at this point you were fairly certain this was par for the course for his heat. There was an expression you couldn’t quite decipher on his face, the oddest mix of curiosity, panic, gratitude, and fondness.

“I’ll be in the laundry room.” You assured them, stepping past Sans and trailing a hand across his radius without conscious thought.

Your laundry room was more of a large utility closet, only barely managing to fit the water heater, which hummed in your ears as it re-heated the hot water the sink was using, the cupboard you kept extra blankets and towels in, and the washer and dryer you had splurged on as a High School student.

(Maybe it had made things a little tight for a while, and the few friends you had, had been confused at the purchase, but it had been worth it to you to be able to sneakily cover Remi in a warm blanket on a cold day and not have to rely on the weather being decent enough for the old clothing line out back.)

You put the mixed load of your clothes from the previous day and your comforter into the dryer on the hottest setting and then hesitated at the door, wondering if you’d given Sans and Toriel enough time. Oh so gently you opened the door a crack.

“-do it intentionally?” The softest sound of Toriel’s voice reached your ears and you almost shut the door instinctively, but something stopped you. Were they talking about the contract Sans had signed with Robbie?

“no, or i don’t think i did.” Sans sighed, “they… there was just something about them, and they touched my soul first.”

You winced, not the contract then.

“Why was your soul out, Sans?” Toriel sounded worried.

“i really don’t know, tori, but… i don’t regret it. even if they want nothing to do with… with it when it’s all said and done, i won’t regret it.”

“You love so fiercely when you can bring yourself to care, Sans, you have Papyrus, can you really do this…?”

“i can. trust me tori.”

“...Of course Sans, you know I’ll always support you-” Gently you shut the door and turned to lean on the washing machine.

You’d always told Remi that eavesdroppers only ever heard half the conversation, and rarely the good half, and now your words were coming back to haunt you.

You wanted to speculate, to consider the ramifications of what they were talking about, but first of all it was supposed to have been a conversation you weren’t privy to, and second of all there was definitely more to the story and it would only invite trouble to speculate on a puzzle you had only one piece to.

You berated yourself and forced a resolve not to speculate, or guess, or fall into the urge to ask Sans what they had talked about. The hot water heater beside you stopped humming for a moment, then picked back up. To you, very familiar with the sounds and quirks of your house, this meant that someone had turned the hot water off.

You hesitated a moment before opening the door as obviously as you could without sticking your head out and announcing your presence.

“Everything okay?” You asked gently, stepping back into the kitchen.

“Everything is just fine,” Toriel assured you, “I am afraid I must take my leave of you, tonight. I can only leave Frisk with Dr. Alphys for so long before they begin to consider anime related mischief.”

“I am familiar with such mischief,” You admitted with a small smile, noting out of the corner of your eye that Toriel had made Sans a bowl of the magical pasta.

Toriel smiled at you, “Do not forget to eat, consumption of magical food will make it easier to produce your own magic in the future and you will need a lot of it in the time to come.”

You nodded, “Sure thing.”

“And…” Toriel considered, “Frisk’s fever began to lower this morning. I thought you would be interested.”

You gave her a bright grin, “I’m glad, really. Having a kid sick is the worst feeling, hopefully it goes quick now that it’s on the run.”

Toriel nodded and flicked the hood of her cloak on.

“I’ll be right back,” You assured Sans, stepping up to walk Toriel to the door.

She glanced over her shoulder, then down at you, “Take care of him?” She requested softly, “You have done a wonderful job in caring so far, please watch over him.”

“I think, after all of this, I’m going to find it very hard to care passively.” You admitted, “The more… The more I learn, and see, the more I wish monsters had won the war.”

Toriel met your steady gaze with a startled look.

“Well… Well, I suppose I will see you again soon.” She seemed taken aback by your admission.

“Good night, Toriel, and I hope Frisk continues to get better.” You told her sincerely.

You watched as she walked down to the sidewalk, and continued watching until she was out of sight to insure she wasn’t harassed.

Sometimes you forgot you even had neighbors, they were so reclusive, but you weren’t going to leave Toriel’s safety to chance.

You shut and locked the door, resting your head against it for a moment, before turning and heading back into the kitchen.

Sans was picking at the pasta, his browbone wrinkled in thought.

“Is it awful?” You asked curiously, “Toriel said it might be a little off…”

“oh, no,” Sans shook his head, “it’s really good, actually. you should have been there for some of my brother’s cooking after he took lessons from undyne…”

Undyne… That name was vaguely familiar, but you couldn’t remember where from. Probably another local monster that BP had mentioned at one point or another.

“Then what’s the face for?” You grabbed a clean bowl and fork from the dishwasher, and dished yourself a portion of the pasta, curious what your first magical food would taste like.

You sat down across from Sans and took a bite while he gathered his thoughts.

It… well, it tasted like the pasta with a cheesy white sauce you’d thrown together a dozen times before. There was definitely a weird tingle to it, though it was less the thunderstorm/blueberry taste of Sans’s magic, and more the sensation of fire beating against wood and an undercurrent of… apples? Maybe apples, but surprisingly it didn’t clash with the pasta.

“i... i need to get back to work.”

You choked.

Sans didn’t look at you, “i’m the one who works. you know about papyrus, he’s too… too good, too innocent to risk in this world. if i’m not working, then no one will pay the bills, and he’ll end up kicked out. i understand if-”

You held up one finger to quiet him, “No.” You said firmly, “If you want to get a job like-like bartending, or something like that I won’t interfere, but I won’t subject you to-I won’t-I can’t-” A million denials, excuses, demands clogged in your throat and you had to close your eyes to stop yourself from giving in to the rising urge to violence.

You’d never hurt Sans, but there was a small gang that hung out a street down, and they were always up for a good fight, maybe you'd head down their way later.

“i have to.” Sans said firmly, “bartending, retail, i tried those, they don’t make enough for what we get charged for rent. i won’t let my brother go hungry in the streets, even if i am a pet.”

“You aren’t a pet, you’re a person. If you can look me in the eye and say you genuinely like being a prostitute, then I’ll let you.” You met Sans’s gaze furiously and his eyes dropped.

“i have to.” He said quietly.

“I’ll pay yours and Papyrus’s rent, I’ll give him money for groceries and anything else he might need.” You told him, taking another bite of pasta you didn’t taste.

Sans stared at you in frank disbelief, “you… you can’t just pay our rent, you have your own utilities to think of and i’m going to be a drain on your resources-”

“For six years I put at least two hundred dollars a week away for my sister’s college fund.” You said flatly. Sans went quiet. “I got army pay deposited into my savings when I was drafted, and when I came back from the Underwar minus a sister, I continued to put at least two hundred dollars a week away out of habit. I… I used to sell a drug called marijuana illegally in baked goods. When the war ended I came home to find that my illegal job was now perfectly legal with the proper permits. I didn’t have a lot to do, so I went through the rigmarole for the permits, and I work a few nights a week at my friend’s bar. I have more than enough to take care of my bills, and to pay yours, no matter how ridiculously humans may inflate them.” Something anxious and hot was surging in your chest, and you had to look away from Sans, putting your fork down.

“i don’t want to be a burden…” Sans said quietly.

The hot thing burst, “‘I don’t want to be a burden’, says the guy who was enslaved and forcibly given drugs that fuck with his biology,” You might be breathing too fast and you pushed your chair to the side so you could fold over and put your head between your knees. Your head was reeling painfully, and you weren’t sure if you wanted to cry, throw up, or hit something… or all three.

“i’m sorry?” Sans’s voice was shaky, and as awful as you felt about melting down in front of Sans, you couldn't help but be grateful Toriel was already gone.

You staggered to your feet, only to fall to your knees a moment later, your legs unable or unwilling to support you.

“No, I’m sorry.” You told him, eyes on the back of your hands, fisted in your loose pants, “I’m sorry that humanity trapped you guys underground, I’m sorry that the war happened, I’m sorry you lost… I’m sorry humanity is racist and bigoted and can only seem to be brought together when we’ve got someone to hate, and I’m sorry you guys are the someone we were brought together to hate. I’m sorry Robbie got to you, and I’m sorry that you have to be in heat for a month, and I’m sorry you’re stuck with me.”

The eternally familiar sensation of exhaustion settled into your bones.

“And I’m sorry for freaking out,” You added with a brittle laugh.

Sans slipped from the chair into your lap, forcing you to release your pants and grab him to keep him from following the natural progression to the floor.

He pressed his forehead to yours, “i don’t understand you,” He admitted, “none of those things are ‘your fault’ except the idea that i’m stuck with you, when in reality you’re stuck with me. you were just going about your life when you stuck your neck out to help me, and now you have monsters at your door, probably threatening you at first sight, and you’re offering your savings to keep me from working a job i hate… i don’t understand what i did to deserve someone like you taking an interest in me.”

“I’d like to be your friend, at least,” You admitted, “I’ll understand if, after we figure the contract out and get you free, if you never want to see me again but…”

“no,” Sans shook his head in an immediate denial, “you’re, uh, i mean… you’re a good human, and a good friend. we definitely met under impastable conditions, but i’m glad we met.”

“Did you just pun in the middle of our emotional moment?” You couldn't stop the grin that flickered across your face.

“if you’re going to do it during sex, i reserve the right to do it any other time i feel like.” Sans told you, smirking.

You snickered and pulled Sans into a hug, “Deal.”

To your surprise, Sans made no move to leave your lap, instead shifting slightly to straddle you and wrapping his arms lightly around your shoulders, resting his head against your neck. Without consciously thinking about it, you started running your hand up and down his back, feeling the grooves of his ribs through his shirt as your hand skimmed across the cloth.

“sorry,” Sans said softly, “you’re… you’re very warm… i think your magic made your soul warmer.”

“Don’t apologize for getting comfortable,” You told him, “I already said I’m here for you, whatever you need,” You glanced up at the table, “Although, you should probably finish eating…”

Sans didn’t respond, but his arms raised a bit, settling more on top of your shoulders and he pillowed his head on his ulna.

“I have to put the leftovers away, at least.” You told him, “I’m pretty sure we slept all day Sans.”

“sorry, tired.” Sans murmured.

“Hold on then.” You hooked your right arms under both his legs and used your left arm to grab the table and rise. One handed you grabbed plastic wrap and covered your bowl, Sans’s bowl, and the pasta pot and then balanced them precariously into the fridge. The entire time, Sans didn’t shift his hold on you, and his breathing got deeper and deeper.

You peeked into the front room, double checking the front door was locked, before turning off the front room lights and then the kitchen lights. You detoured into the laundry room to grab a spare blanket since your comforter was still drying.

“you don’t have to sleep if you don’t want to,” Sans mumbled.

“Maybe using magic for the first time really takes it out of you, but I’m bone tired.” You considered the puzzle of getting Sans to let go long enough to lay him on the bed, before shaking the blanket out one handed, lying down, and covering you and Sans.

Immediately Sans shifted his grip and his position until his head was resting on your chest again, “don’t try to out bone pun me,” He warned with a yawn, “i have a skeleton of ‘em.”

With the new magical senses that had woken with your soul, you could feel the thrum under Sans’s bones stronger, and it was almost a lullaby.

You gave in to the urge to close your eyes and wrapped both arms around Sans, hugging him close.

Just before you fell asleep, you realized you could feel a great deal of your magic in Sans, and wondered if he’d eaten more of the magical food than you thought he had.

Chapter Text

You woke up, begrudgingly, to the sound of your phone’s alarm. More than anything you wanted to ignore it, but with a sigh you remembered you’d forgotten to take your pills before bed two nights in a row, which meant you couldn't skip this morning. Carefully you reached over with your free hand to turn the alarm off, and began the difficult process of untangling yourself from Sans.

Although he didn’t wake up, he did whine softly in his sleep at your loss, and you couldn't stop yourself from reaching out to stroke his cheekbone with a smile.

The smile fell away as you realized that Sans’s cheek felt warmer than it had yesterday. You flipped your hand and placed the back of your hand against his skull.

Definitely, definitely warmer.

You reached out with your soul, concentrating all the new sensations and feelings you’d been dealing with solely on Sans.

It was heady how aware of him you were suddenly. You could feel the hum of his magic, the impending feeling of a thunderstorm that you’d never be able to feel again without thinking of him, and the blue of his soul flared in your vision.

Not being used to this particular way of seeing the world just yet, the only thing you could see that might be an issue was that there was only the tiniest trickle of your magic in Sans. Toriel had said she thought your magic might be important, but you weren’t really sure if it needed to stay your magic, or convert to Sans’s magic.

Very carefully you stood and tucked the blankets around Sans, then made for the bathroom. As you grabbed your pills and walked into the kitchen you considered your options for making breakfast.

There were not many.

You hadn’t really eaten breakfast for the last two years, you usually drank a glass of milk and then just drank water until lunch, which meant you were greatly lacking in anything resembling breakfast foods, and you were reluctant to reheat pasta and call it breakfast.

Pouring yourself a glass of milk, you considered the pasta, and your own cupboards, mostly bare.

You needed to go shopping, too, you were out of ninety percent of what you needed to bake.

Chewing on your lip, you thought back to what Toriel had told you about magic food last night. She had said it was possible to make food from magic, but she hadn’t said how to do so.

Making fire had been easy enough, once you figured it out, maybe making food was similar?

There was nothing to lose, so you finished off the glass of milk and started pulling on the crackly green energy that was your magic.

For a moment you hesitated, not sure where to start, but then you glanced over out your kitchen window, to a small bush laden with green berries that hadn’t started to ripen yet.

Strawberries were definitely an acceptable breakfast food.

You focused your magic in your hands as you thought about strawberries. You and Remi had planted the bushes in your backyard together when she was fourteen and had insisted that the two of you do your best to grow all of your own food from then on. You hadn’t actually succeeded in growing too many things, but for whatever reason the strawberry bushes had flourished in that little corner of your backyard, even when you’d left for two years.

(Your whole garden had been a huge mess after the war, it was one of the things Quin had used to draw you out of your room, out of the depression that felt like it would never let you go. You didn’t have to think to pull weeds, or to trim and shape, all you had to think about was the rich warm soil on your hands, the sun on your back, and the clean warm smell of growing things.)

Your magic settled and you opened your hands to see a large, plump, strawberry sitting in the cup of your hands. It definitely took more magic than filling an already existing item with your magic had, but you were pretty sure you could manage a bowl of strawberries without much issue.

You pooled your magic again, and in much less time another strawberry formed. The more strawberries you made, the easier it was to make them, until all it took was a moment of concentration to have a picture perfect strawberry.

You glanced at the bowl of strawberries, each of them identical as far as you could tell, and decided that it was probably enough for now. That decision definitely had nothing to do with the washed out feeling you were starting to get when you even thought of your magic. Not a thing. At all.

With a sigh of frustration at your own own stubbornness, you summoned your soul to see if you could see how the magic use was affecting you.

What you summoned was not exactly the soul you had seen last night.

You cupped your hands and pulled your soul up to get a better look.

It still had the gold smears, like someone had dipped a brush in gold paint and just drawn a line until they ran out of paint, but the dark green had lightened until it was a pastel green. Curious, you pulled on your magic, not intending on doing anything with it, but just wanting to see exactly what you were doing.

Your soul lightened, until what you were holding was almost a glass heart with gold smears, in one small spot you could see an odd crack, like a chip was missing. You swayed, suddenly very light headed, and released your magic, watching it turn your soul back to pastel.

You shook your head and pulled your soul back, wondering if magic was like a muscle that you’d be able to work out until it got stronger, or if you would forever only have a bowl of strawberries worth of magic.

Still thinking, you scooped up the bowl and walked towards your bedroom. If Sans was still tired after the strawberries, you’d let him sleep, but if he was still feverish then you were going to text BP for Toriel’s number. Maybe you’d ask her about that missing chip, as well, if you had to call her.

When you opened the door, you were immediately met with a tense expression on Sans’s face. He relaxed as soon as he saw you, but you could tell by how hazy the lights of his eyes were that his mind wasn’t exactly on breakfast.

“hey,” He murmured, voice low and throaty. A shiver ran down your spine.

“Hey yourself, I brought you breakfast.” You sat on the edge of the bed and offered him the bowl.

“mm.” Sans didn't take his eyes off of you, “what if i’d rather have you for breakfast?”

Your heart rate picked up, but outwardly you remained unfazed, “All you had to eat last night was half a bowl of pasta, if that. Eat the berries, Sans.”

“i’m not hungry.” Sans insisted, though the look on his face as he watched you suggested otherwise.

“How about this,” You proposed, “For every strawberry you eat I'll find a new way to touch you.”

Sans leaned forward and took the bowl from you, an exceedingly mischievous look on his face, “what if you don't think of enough ways to touch me?”

“Then I'll owe you one favor of any kind.” You know you’d won when he sat back and picked up two of the berries at the same time and ate them in quick succession. Much slower he picked up a third and smirked at you.

Oh. Had you realized before that Sans could make a tongue? Maybe you were too distracted by other things, although that definitely explained some of what he had been doing to your neck that first night.

You kept yourself still and maintained your calm waiting position, determined that Sans eat as much as he could before you gave into the urge to kiss that smug look away.

***

Sans ate a fourth and fifth strawberry before he set the bowl aside and leaned forward to grab you. You didn’t hesitate, eagerly leaning forward to kiss him. You leaned him back onto the bed before moving down to his collar bone.

“One,” You murmured, kissing, nipping, and licking along the smooth bone as Sans grasped your shirt and pulled you closer.

You moved down slowly as Sans whimpered and clutched at you, you didn’t move too far down his chest, but made sure you managed to touch as much of his upper body as you could.

“p-please,” Sans panted, “please more.”

You could feel him hard and ready, pressing against your stomach.

“Two,” You reached into his pants and grasped him. Sans arched his back, thrusting into your grip with a moan so low you got shivers.

You stroked him and Sans writhed underneath you, huffing softly and making quiet breathy moans. You went slow and then picked up speed excruciatingly slow as you continued your assault on his neck.

Finally Sans came into your hand with a hoarse groan. You released him, but he stayed hard and looked up at you with hazy eyes and a daring grin.

“two?”

You matched his grin and rose up off of him. Sans gave a whine of protest and reached for you. Ignoring the wanting skeleton for a moment, you took off your shirt and stripped neatly out of your pants and underthings. You were already soaked and aching, but you took your time turning back to look at Sans.

The blue in his cheekbones had definitely grown in intensity and Sans was watching you with something soft in his expression that made your mouth go dry.

Sans sat up slowly and pulled his shirt off, then slipped out of his shorts and sat waiting for you.

“Three,” You said softly, your voice drifting closer to a whisper than you would have liked. You caressed his cheek bone with one hand. Delicately you drew his head up and kissed him with all the tender passion you could summon. Sans swayed slightly and reached a hand up to trace a warm trail across your cheek and down your neck.

For just a second your gaze strayed to Sans’s chest, where his soul was visible once more, glowing so brightly it cast a blue light on you both. You felt contentment and warm tender feelings you couldn't bring yourself to name while you looked at it and made a point of drawing your eyes lower where Sans was pressed against your stomach.

“you don’t have to…” Sans said suddenly, the tiniest bit of worry starting to edge into his voice. He looked very large all of a sudden.

You rose up pointedly and grabbed him, placing him at your entrance.

“Four,” You held his eyes with yours as you slowly started to move down on him. It was definitely a stretch, but you’d spent the better part of two days dreaming and drooling after Sans, and it was more than enough to wear the edge off of the momentary discomfort. When you had finally reached the base of his shaft you paused to let yourself adjust. Sans was watching you, and the lights of his eyes had cleared as he gazed up at you.

You leaned forward and tangled your fingers with his phalanges and started moving. Sans did admirably in letting you set the pace before making a noise that went straight to your core and started thrusting up to meet you. Your pace quickened and you almost weren’t breathing fast enough to keep up with the oxygen your body was demanding when Sans shifted and used your momentary surprise to roll you onto your back.

Sans slowed his pace immediately, setting a slow and steady pace that built, and built, and built but offered no release.

“Sans,” You panted, “Sans, please.”

He kissed you, “say my name again?” He purred.

“Sans. Saaaannnssss,” You drew his name out in a hiss as he slowly picked up speed, but nowhere near enough to get you to your release, “Come on, faster, please.”

“no fun bein’ teased, is it?” Sans murmured in your year.

“N-nhg no,” You gasped, “B-but it is awful f-fun to tease.”

Sans chuckled and started thrusting in earnest. You tightened your grip on Sans’s hands as he brought you to the very edge, watching your face with wonder.

You came together, releasing eachother’s hands without thinking about it in favor of grabbing onto each other.

“Sah-hans!”

“_____!”

***

“you, uh, never got to five,” Sans breathed.

“Guess I owe you that favor,” You smiled at him, not feeling all that bad about the forfeit. You reached over and pulled a strawberry from the bowl and popped it into his mouth. Sans ate it without complaint and cuddled into you.

“do you want to take a nap?” Sans asked softly.

“I think I’ve slept more with you than I have in the past five-ish years,” You told him, but reached for the blanket anyway.

“was there something important i’m keeping you from?” Sans asked, voice deliberately casual, but you heard the faint note of worry.

“Definitely not today.” You assured him, “I’m here for you, with you.”

Sans flushed again, but this was all nerves. You could feel his body temperature lowering slightly, returning to what it was yesterday.

You watched Sans with half lidded eyes for a moment, then your eyes were again drawn to that blue light in his chest.

“Sans?” You murmured softly, holding him in the position that had somehow already become customary for you, head on your chest listening to your heartbeat with your arms wrapped around his back and resting on his ribs, “I’m sorry, again, for touching your soul. I didn’t realize… Toriel explained it a bit for me-”

“it’s okay,” Sans murmured sleepily, “i wouldn’t… i wouldn't actually mind if you did it again. was kind of nice…”

“Really?” You asked, doing your best to hide just how happy the offer made you.

“mm, it’ll be different though, now that you know how to use your magic.” There was an echo of worry to Sans’s words now, “you might… see some things, or feel some things.”

You paused, “Did… Did you see anything? When you, uh…”

“a little bit.” Sans admitted, “i didn’t… i mean, i didn’t hold on long enough to see a lot. it’s not like a movie where your whole life is laid out, it’s like… moments that make you, you. i promise i didn’t see much.”

“It’s okay,” You assured him, “I…” You were going to say you didn’t mind if he touched your soul again, but did you? How much of your life were you prepared to share with Sans?

And if you shared too much, what was going to keep you from falling apart all over again if he left?

“What did you see?” You asked, trying to make your mind up.

“you... you were a kid, and someone was laying a baby on your lap, showing you how to hold them. you were so focused on the baby, i couldn't even see the other person in the room. you seemed so worried and kept asking how to be a good older sibling, and the other person said ‘Just protect her with everything you have.’ and… that was it, i let go.” Sans murmured.

“That was my dad,” You said quietly, “And my… and Remi, when he brought her and my mom back home from the hospital.”

“it was a defining moment in making you, you.” Sans said quietly, “so it imprinted itself on your soul.”

So that’s what souls were made of, Magic, and those little moments that shaped you. That’s what Sans had offered to share with you, everything that made him who he was.

“I don’t mind if you touch my soul again,” You said finally, and before you could lose your nerve you called it out.

Apparently you had recovered a small bit from your strawberry exercise, because instead of pastel, your soul was now the color of green grass. A small corner of you relaxed a bit as that was definitely more than enough magic to summon a bit of fire if necessary.

“are you sure?” Sans asked softly, one hand already half raised to touch it.

“Just don’t go breaking my heart,” You grinned down at him.

“i couldn’t if i tried.” Sans gave you a small grin and you had only a second of excitement that someone didn’t mind you randomly dropping lyrics in the middle of conversations, before Sans had your soul in his hands and your world changed.

There was the heat from the previous night, but it was so much more intense now, like a fire surrounding you, close enough to heat but just far enough that it didn’t burn you. It was a forest fire, and the fire you toasted marshmallows over a lifetime ago. It was a candle flame and a blaze that destroyed cities. It was you.

Peripherally you were aware of Sans, and what’s more you could almost see the memories that you were giving him access to, but you were too caught up in sensations to try and follow what he was seeing.

Or, rather, you were too caught up in Sansations.

Around the roar of a fire you could feel a storm gathering, not above or in the distance, but all around you. It didn’t feel like rain, but like lightning and the rumble of thunder, and tangled in the storm you could feel everything Sans was feeling for you in this moment.

He was curious, oh so curious about this human who was so virulently defending him, even against himself. Awe, which made you a little uncomfortable because you were nothing to be awed of. Recognition as something in you reflected something in him. Wariness, but that felt more tied to a worry that you would leave than anything else, and it faded the more he saw.

In the moment that Sans’s wariness disappeared entirely, so did the majority of the world. You were totally free in that moment, free from depression, from the pain of your sister’s death. Everything was peaceful and wonderful, and feelings of warmth and what felt like the beginning buds of something more than affection surrounded you like your favorite blanket warm from the dryer.

And then you were you again, lying in your bed with a skeleton and a brightly glowing green and gold heart floating over your chest.

“Oh.”

You weren’t sure what else you could say. The warmth you’d felt lingered, but the sense of Sans faded and that almost hurt as much as the return of your heavier emotions.

You glanced down at Sans, and he looked like he wanted to say so many things, but instead he sat up and a moment later a glowing blue inverted heart was being offered to you.

You paused for just a moment, remembering Sans’s wariness and checking to see if there were any similar feelings lingering in you, but in that moment all you could feel for Sans was…

Well, embarrassingly enough, pure adoration. You were sure, in that moment, that you’d happily go to the ends of the earth for the short skeleton who had given you true peace for the very first time.

You accepted Sans’s soul without another second of hesitation, confident there was nothing you were feeling that might hurt Sans.

When you’d touched his soul before you had felt nothing. It had been a single stroke motivated by curiosity in the heat of the moment, but you had been (unknowingly) closed off to anything you could have seen. Now there were no such limitations.

Your magic sang in your soul, protective, savage, and territorial because here was the physical and magical manifestation of Sans all around you.

For a moment you were suspended in the center of the thunderstorm, no sign of your fire, and then you were swept away in a series of memories that made Sans who he was.

This is your baby brother, Sans, A tall skeleton in a lab coat signed to a tiny version of Sans, carefully arranging a bundle of orange blankets in his arms.

“he’s so small.” Sans marvelled, peaking at the baby.

He won’t be that way forever, I think Papyrus will be even bigger than you when he grows up. The scientist (GasterFatherDad) teased Sans.

Sans shook his head, “he’ll always be my little brother,” He said solemnly, “no matter how big he gets, i’ll take care of him.”

Gaster smiled and placed a hand on Sans’s shoulder.

(He’s my little brother, I’ll take care of him)

 

Sans was older, a small skeleton child (PapyrusBrotherBro) clung to his hand.

“SANS, WHERE ARE WE GOING? WHAT’S HAPPENING?”

Sans closed his eyes for a moment before smiling brightly at Papyrus, “we’re going home, bro. i’ve got a new house set up for just the two of us.”

“WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR OLD HOME SANS? AND WHY DOES MY HEAD HURT?”

(Gaster fell, reaching for Sans, Sans reached back eyes desperate but he was too far down it was too late and Gaster was falling into the Core something was tearing at the corners of the universe )

“we got too big for our old home, but you’ll like it where we’re going paps, there’s snow.”

“LIKE IN MY BEDTIME STORY?”

“just like in your bedtime story, buddy, we’ll build snow monsters and everything.”

(If I have to lie to keep Papyrus happy, I’ll lie.)

 

Sans woke up.

Sans woke up.

Sans woke up.

Sans woke up.

Sans Woke Up.

Sans… woke up.

Sans… woke… up...

The first time he woke up he went downstairs and had breakfast with Papyrus before heading out to his various jobs. He repeated his week in a similar manner, and everything was normal.

The second time he woke up confused, feeling like something had gone horribly wrong. After a few minutes he went downstairs, had breakfast with Papyrus, and went to his various jobs where he had the exact same conversations with the exact same people for the next week.

The third time he woke up he Knew something was wrong. He went downstairs and told Papyrus, and they searched the forests of Snowdin, trying to find out what happened. No monster had any clue, and there was no writing anywhere to explain it.

The fourth time he didn’t move from the bed for a long time, just watching the ceiling and wondering how many more times he would have to relive this week. Papyrus didn’t remember.

The fifth time he woke up to the sound of someone screaming and crying, demanding that someone, anyone, make them feel something. Sans ran out of the house. Papyrus turned slowly to Sans, confusion etched onto his face. Sans could do nothing as he watched Papyrus crumble away to dust.

The sixth time he woke up he ran for Papyrus and begged him to stay in, not to leave the house. The screaming never started, but Sans never let go of Papyrus’s hand.

The Seventh time he woke up, he watched the clock with a dull expression before turning over and going back to sleep.

(Nothing I do Matters)

 

Sans sat on the cliffside of Mt. Ebott, seeing the stars for the first time.

“Sans?”

Begrudgingly he turned to look at Asgore.

“We are at war now, will you join us?”

“i don’t fight.” Sans went back to looking at the stars.

(I love the stars)

(I don’t fight)

 

“I heard what happened back there.”

Sans didn’t look up, his whole body felt too heavy to move as he contemplated how he was going to pay rent now that he’d been fired for the third time.

“Hey, look at me.”

He did. Some humans got nasty if you ignored them.

A woman sat down on the curb next to him, watching him thoughtfully, “That was bullshit.” She said frankly.

Sans didn’t reply.

“What will you do now?”

“i don’t know.” The words escaped unbidden.

The woman nodded, “I have a solution. It’s not a pretty one, and it’s not for everyone. If you do like it, people will look down on you for it, and if you don’t like it you will still get treated like garbage.”

“i’m a monster.” Sans pointed out softly.

“Fair enough,” She nodded, “It’s harsh work, do you have a reason to keep living if it gets too hard?”

Papyrus.

“...yes. i’ll do anything.”

(I’ll do anything I have to)

 

A woman laughed as she grabbed his arm harshly, ripping his jacket, “Such a tame little monster,” She cooed, “Will you love me for some money? Will you be a good whore?”

Sans determinedly did not look at the gaping hole in his jacket, the jacket he’d worked on Reset after Reset to be his one constant, the one thing that remained everytime time started over.

“what do you want me to do?”

(Nothing lasts forever)

 

He was on fire. He could barely think through the heat, he wanted to die.

Blessed coolness surrounded him.

“You’re Sans, right?” Was he Sans? He felt like a ball of ash, but he could feel you now, your arms, your ribs. Your Heartbeat. The sound of your heart was clearing through some of the haze in his mind and he could focus a little bit, “My name is _____. I’m a friend of BP’s, you know him as Burgerpants, I bet. I told him when we started making deals that I wasn’t going to call him that, especially not after hearing the story behind it, but he still won’t tell me his real name... We’ll… We’ll do some research on what Robbie did to ya tomorrow. I’m probably not going to remember too much of tonight, sorry. We’ll get you cleaned up, though, and get you back to that little… brother, right? That’s what BP said?” Papyrus. He was going to die without ever seeing Papyrus again, that’s what he’d been told, that was part of the deal. “We’ll get you back to your bro. Little siblings are important Sans, but I bet you knew that.” He did. Papyrus was everything good in the world, “Shit. Shit I knew mindgames would bite me in the ass. I’m not hurting you, am I?” You were swaying and the movement of your body against his was bringing the fire back, though it was far more pleasant this time. He didn’t even know who you were, but you seemed so worried about him.

He tried to tell you he was okay, and if you’d just let him see Paps again he’d gladly do whatever you wanted, even convincing Burgerpants to tell you his real name, but his words were muffled by the tape, and he wasn’t entirely sure they would be coming out as real words in the first place.

“I’m going to kill Robbie if he broke you.” You sounded ferocious, even though your words were slurring, “Stay with me skeleton man, you’ve got a little brother you can’t leave behind.” Sans did his best to nod, but it was hard, so hard to get his body to respond to his thoughts instead of the need for you to touch him, the need to be touching you.

You were quiet for a time, but your grip never faltered. You held Sans like he was important, like dropping him would be a bad thing, like he wasn’t just something to be used and tossed aside, or as a way to work out your aggressions.

Suddenly you let him go, but it was gentle and you were laying on something almost unbearably soft and fluffy.

“Okay buddy,” Between the fog in his mind and the way you were slurring, Sans wasn’t really sure he was even understanding you right anymore, “I’m gonna take the blindfold and tape off, first, okay? Then we’ll work with… We’ll work on getting your arms free.”

It would be nice if his arms were free again, they’d been tied in the same awful position for the last… two? Days. Maybe it had been more.

All at once the darkness was gone. Sans could see you, but more importantly he could see your soul shining through your chest.

It was bright and furious. If you’d had access to your magic, you never would have been able to stop yourself from manifesting it with how brightly your soul was shining right now, overflowing with the desire to protect, to defend, to fight.

You were saying something, but he was too engrossed in your soul to hear you, so there was no warning before the area around his mouth was suddenly in awful pain. His body betrayed him, if he’d been prepared he would have been still and silent, he had been before, but he couldn’t stop the instinctual motion and the wordless cry. Unbidden tears rose to his eyes, and almost in response your soul began to glow brighter, all but reaching for him.

“I’m sorry, shit, I’m so sorry.” You did what your soul could not and scooped him up, curling protectively around him. Your soul continued to burn in kindness, and he couldn’t stop the tears from coming now that they’d found a release. He rest his head on your chest and listened to the soothing sound of your heartbeat the undeniable proof that you were here and real.

He could See your soul, and even without touching it he could see that it was against everything that made you, you to hurt him. Your latent magic, so much closer to the surface than so many others he’d seen, reached for him, trying to heal and soothe. He was safe here in your arms.

(I am safe with you)

 

There were tears running down your cheeks as Sans’s memories faded away, leaving you with the feeling of being in the center of a thunderstorm again. It was different now, the flames of your magic wove themselves freely into the thunderstorm and it felt like you were tangled in Sans. Very carefully you let go of Sans’s soul and let it return to it’s place in Sans’s chest.

“are you okay?” Sans reached over to wipe the tears from your face, “i’m sorry, i didn’t think i’d hurt you-”

“Not hurt,” You said immediately, grabbing Sans’s wrist gently and pulling him forward into your arms, “Overwhelmed, sorry, give me a moment.”

You were fairly certain that the rules of getting drunk and/or having sex with someone applied to having just held someone’s soul. Namely, that you didn’t blurt out that you loved them immediately afterwards.

But you did. You loved everything about Sans in that moment, from the small child who had held his little brother so solemnly, to the starstruck monster who refused his king’s request to join the fight, to the world weary man listening to a woman who offered her own salvation as an option for him.

You loved him fiercely.

“You are safe with me,” You told him raspily, “I promise, fuck, I promise I will never, ever let you be hurt again.”

Sans didn’t respond, didn’t move, then his arms wrapped around you so tightly it was as though he was afraid you would crumble to dust if he let go.

“you don’t have to promise that.”

“I promise.”

Chapter Text

Despite assuring Sans that you were perfectly fine napping with him, you couldn't get back to sleep after holding his soul. You did hold perfectly still with Sans curled against your chest as you stared up at the ceiling, lost in your own thoughts.

As time drifted you meandered through a variety of topics, curious over what memories made the core of your being, whether you’d ever be able to see souls the way Sans did, and why you hadn’t gotten Toriel’s number for emergencies last night, to name a few, but there was one thing that your mind kept returning to.

The jacket. Sans’s blue jacket.

There was nothing in your room that could wipe away the brief feeling of anguish, and then acceptance in Sans as he watched one of the few constants through every timeline destroyed from your mind’s eye.

It seemed like such a little thing, but you could feel how much of a comfort it had been to Sans. He had made it himself, carefully over several timelines, using magic to bind it to himself so that whatever had been resetting the world couldn't undo what he’d done. It had been a part of Sans, and its loss had changed him, had changed his soul.

Subconsciously you held Sans a little tighter, angry at the woman who hadn’t cared what she was doing, angry at humanity for what they continued to do to Sans and monsters like him…

And Angry at yourself, for not doing more for monsters in general.

Carefully, so as not to wake Sans up, you grabbed your phone and started texting.

To BP (9:17 AM):
I need a favor, can we meet tomorrow at three instead of waiting until next week?

To Quin (9:17 AM):
I have a weird request.

You set your phone to vibrate and waited, lightly running the hand you had wrapped around Sans across his back. He hummed in contentment and shifted closer to you in his sleep.

Your phone buzzed.

Quin (9:18 AM):
How weird? How’s your monster doing?

To Quin: (9:18 AM):
His name is Sans, he’s not my monster he’s my friend. And I need some swatches of cloth? In Blue? Thick, fluffy, jacket material.

You’d just responded to Quin when BP replied.

BP (9:19 AM):
Is this a regular drop off as well as a favor? Because I’ve got an of unusual request myself. Also, what kind of favor, you know how I feel about favors.

You made a face at the vague reminder of how BP got his name and considered how to respond.

To BP (9:20 AM):
I need a general idea of how much a monster would spend on rent/utilities/groceries/other necessities. How unusual is unusual?

Quin (9:20 AM):
Why?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You haven’t made anything in FOREVER ARE YOU MAKING SOMETHING I NEED TO KNOW IMMEDIATELY _____. _____. I TAUGHT YOU TO SEW I NEED TO KNOW NOW IF YOU’RE PUTTING YOUR SKILLS TO USE. MY CHILD. MY FRIEND. MY PLATONIC SOULMATE YOU BEST BE SPILLING BEANS.

To Quin (9:21 AM):
I might be making something, don’t be weird. Also if you could keep an eye out for faux fur, white and super fluffy.

Quin (9:21 AM)
WHAT ARE YOU MAKING

To Quin (9:21 AM):
A jacket, so if you could find, like, comfortable stuff? I don’t know. I’m frazzled Quin! Stop Frazzling me!

BP (9:22 AM):
Rent for a one bedroom is 1500-2000 depending on what type of monster and how many. Utilities are right around 300-500, most monsters have gotten pretty good at making their own food.

You stared at the text for a long time. It was a harsh contrast the the texts you were exchanging with Quin, and an even harsher realization of what humanity was actually doing to monsters.

You’d never rented an apartment, the house being paid off had been one of the few things that your parents had managed before they disappeared, but you’d seen ads and Quin had been in an apartment before she bought Quin’s Place and moved into the apartment above the bar.

That was much more than a one bedroom apartment was worth, hell that was more than most two bedrooms were worth unless they were the definition of luxury and you were fairly certain that these places wouldn’t be the definition of luxury. Your chest hurt and you glanced down at Sans, half wondering, half afraid of what he had put himself through to make that rent every month. Not to mention Utilities.

To BP (9:25 AM)
Thanks. And the unusual request?

Quin (9:22 AM):
Frazzling you is my job. Are you taking your medicine, by the way? Are you eating? And how is Sans doing? I haven’t seen Robbie since the other night.

You bit your tongue hard to keep from accidentally breaking your phone, or waking Sans up at Robbie’s name.

To Quin (9:26 AM):
If you see Robbie, shoot him. I’m taking my medicine, I forgot for the last two nights it’s been a little crazy, but I’ve been taking it in the morning and I won’t forget tonight. I’m eating. Sans is

Complicated? Wonderful? Perfect? Complicated was probably the safest descriptor. You knew you were being slightly short with Quin now, and she didn’t really deserve it, but BP’s text had definitely put a down on your mood.

Complicated but we’re working on it. Cloth swatches?

Quin (9:26 AM):
Shot dead or shot injured so he can’t get away while you get here? I’ll have your cloth and fur samples ready in two days at the latest. Come visit me, bring Sans if he’s up to it.

To Quin (9:27 AM):
Shot injured, and call me immediately. And thanks Quin…

Quin (9:27 AM):
Love you, too.

BP (9:27 AM):
There’s a new monster moving in nearby, she normally travels with the king, but they’re apparently settling down a little bit and someone told her I could get ahold of human things that we normally can’t get our hands on. How much do you know about Anime?

You smiled, thinking of the weeabo phase Remi had gone through that had started when she was thirteen. Your smile faltered slightly as you remembered she hadn’t really had a chance to grow out of her weeabo phase.

To BP (9:28 AM):
I know more about Anime than I am proud of.

BP (9:28 AM):
Is there any chance you could get ahold of Mew Mew Kissy Cutie Season 3? And also anti-anxiety medication of any kind? Just one pill, Alphys is pretty sure she can deconstruct it.

You considered. The medication was easy enough, you had some of Remi’s in the cabinet still, but you weren’t sure if you’d be able to get the third season of Mew Mew Kissy Cutie, if they even still made them…

Unless…

To BP (9:30 AM):
I can absolutely do the anti-anxiety pill. I’m pretty sure I can get the anime, too. Does anyone else need anything?

BP (9:30 AM):
Frisk is doing better, so we’re good on medicine. Is there any chance you could bring Sans with you? Papyrus hasn’t been his best.

You glanced down at the sleeping skeleton. You were fairly certain that Sans would jump to see his brother but…

If you took Sans out in public, you’d have to use the leash. In the right setting between two (or more, you weren’t going to judge) consenting adults, a leash wouldn't be a huge deal. Having no choice but to leash Sans anytime he wanted to leave the house made you physically hurt.

On the other hand, you’d never want to prevent him from seeing his brother…

To BP (9:31 AM):
Meet at my house instead of the usual spot, bring Papyrus.

You wondered if Sans’s feelings for Papyrus would affect you. You hadn’t experienced every memory the two shared, but you had felt the unashamed adoration Sans felt for his brother, you had seen how far the short skeleton had been willing to go, and what’s more you had seen Papyrus die.

BP (9:32 AM):
What happened to ‘I like to keep my work and private life separate’?

You rolled your eyes.

To BP (9:32 AM):
All of monsterkind is officially part of my private life. Question, Toriel wouldn't get in trouble if she were to teach me to use magic, would she? I know she’s the Queen of monsters, but the use of magic was a big thing to the King.

BP (9:32 AM):
You don’t need to worry about Toriel. Asgore messed up bad with her, so he pretty much lets her do whatever she wants. If she teaches you magic she’ll be in the clear. He might want to meet you, though.

To BP (9:33 AM):
Sure, why not. As long as he waits for me to break Sans’s contract before he has me killed.

You sent it as a joke, but remembered that Asgore was the one who had declared war on humanity and had killed seven children before humans had even known they were at war.

BP (9:33 AM):
He’s a good guy, usually, I’m sure you’ll be fine, too. I’ll bring Papyrus by tomorrow at 3.

To BP (9:34 AM):
Thanks

You set your phone aside, feeling a little bit better despite the slight potential of death the next time the king was in town.

Which actually might be soon if he was sending Alphys the Scientist to settle down.

If any monster had a decent life in the world of humans, it had been her. She was apparently fairly reclusive, but the royal guard protected her almost as well as they did Asgore. Several world changing technologies had been introduced thanks to Alphys, though they were always monitored by Asgore until the patents were signed and Alphys was actually given the credit she was due. Even the most sincere hater of monsters grudgingly admitted Alphys ‘earned her keep Aboveground’.

You’d had no idea that she liked anime, but it wouldn’t be the first time a monster had wanted something slightly odd that they were incapable of purchasing or finding themselves because of stupid prejudices.

You fell asleep thinking of Alphys, Anime, and the look of acceptance in Sans’s eyes when he decided nothing was permanent in the world. Your dreams shifted between taking care of a little brother, taking care of a little sister, and the look on both their faces when they died.

“hey, hey wake up. It’s okay, you’re okay,” A low voice woke you up, and you looked up in blurry confusion at Sans as he watched you with concern.

“you were crying,” He explained softly.

You reached up and wiped at your cheeks, which were definitely covered in tears.

“Oh, embarrassing.” You smiled at him shakily, “Sorry.”

“don’t be sorry, i… i’m sorry, this is probably my fault. i-”

You shook your head and pressed a finger to Sans’s mouth, “It was a familiar nightmare, just with a few new elements. It’s not your fault, I promise.”

Sans watched you dubiously, “you didn’t have any nightmares that made you cry the three times we slept together before we shared our souls.” He pointed out.

“I don’t normally wake up crying,” You allowed, “But it was a familiar nightmare. I’m just feeling a little more emotionally open right now.”

Sans still didn’t look convinced, so you sighed and took his hands, pulling him back to you.

“Was Remi dying one of the memories that made me, me?” You asked lowly.

Sans was quiet for a long moment, then, “yeah… i mean, it was… a shadow. some of the your memories were… grey, and cracked, and the image of you cradling her in a dark place lies over everything.”

“She was all I had,” You murmured, “For the longest time. Our parents did their best, but my mom didn’t really know how to be a parent to me, and when Remi came along she was just grateful that I was willing to take the responsibility. It never really occurred to her that a little kid shouldn't be raising a baby, I guess, but my dad was able to cover what I was too young to understand. He disappeared when I was ten, my mom died when I was thirteen. I didn’t report it. I knew that if I did, we might get separated and that was unacceptable. Selling drugs was my dad’s thing, but I kept up his plants in the greenhouse out back just in case he came back some day. He never did, but I got use out of the plants anyway.” You shook your head, “I’m digressing, sorry, the point is, Remi was all I had. When… When the Underwar began, they needed troops there fast while they trained the real armed forces to deal with magic. They put out a draft for Ebott City and the surrounding areas, everyone eighteen to thirty-five unless you were a single parent or a business owner. Anyone sixteen and up was encouraged to sign up ‘with parental permission’... I was scared to leave Remi alone, and she didn’t want me in the middle of a war without her.”

Sans was subtly tensing at your side. He had seen your soul, and you couldn’t help but wonder if the names of the people you’d killed were carved in there somewhere.

“Remi was… so pure. I don’t know how I managed to raise someone like her, honestly. She was certain that we were days away from a peaceful treaty with monsters, always days away. She insisted we do our best to injure, not kill whenever we fought. I just… I just wanted to get her home safe. We, our unit, got cut off about a year and a half into the war. I never found out why it happened exactly, but one moment we were with the greater part of the army, the next we were surrounded on all sides.”

Sans held your hand tighter, “i didn’t see any memory, just one image. you and her,” He murmured.

“Remi wasn’t even firing, she was just holding her gun, pointed at the ground,” You couldn't stop talking, you could clearly see that day, almost three years ago now, “I heard a cheer go up from somewhere in the monsters. The Commander was in the fight. One of the men in my unit, Hansen, he was… loyal to his country. He really thought fighting monsters was what was right. Sometimes I think about that, sometimes I think about how he used to spend ages trying to get me to laugh by the fire at night, he always said I was too solemn. I saw The Commander aiming right for him, she had these glowing spears... I guess it was what her magic did, spears.” Sans tensed slightly, you barely noticed, “Remi saw it, too. She took a spear right to the chest, the coroner said the spear managed to graze her heart and hit her lung at the angle she took it, but she kept standing there… and Hansen raised his gun and pointed right at The Commander, and Remi took that shot, too.”

Sans was holding you tightly now, and you appreciated the help in holding together the cracked bits you sometimes felt in your chest.

“Everything went quiet. I’m told I screamed and it sounded so inhuman… so broken, that fighting stopped on both sides and everyone started watching me. I don’t remember. I just ran to her and begged. I begged her to stay with me, not to die. She looked at me, and smiled, and said ‘Be Good, Be Nice. Don’t go hard and cold again, please?’ Then she looked past me and smiled… And I looked up into the helmet of the monster that had thrown the spear, the reason my Remi was dying… And I was in so much pain, I just wanted to tear her apart with my bare hands, but Remi grabbed me. She looked at the Commander, and she smiled. She said ‘I don’t blame you, you are doing the best you can.’ Then she looked at me again and said, ‘You can’t blame her if I don’t. She’s the hope of her people, and she did what she had to, to keep them safe.’...”

“and then?” Sans asked softly.

“The Commander knelt, reached out her hands, and a teal mist appeared… and before it could touch either of us Remi just… died… Laying right there in my arms…” You stared at the ceiling for a while, blinking away the burning in your eyes and the shattered feeling in your chest, “That’s what I dream of. Sitting there and watching her slip away in my arms.”

“i’m sorry,” Sans said quietly, voice full of self loathing, “i didn’t mean to make you tell me that…”

“I chose to.” You smiled at him, even though it felt a little strained and different, “You didn’t make me tell you, I chose to share it.”

“how did you keep going?” Sans asked faintly, “there was… in the Underground there was something that could mess with time. i lived one week over countless times, then a month, then a year, then a decade… every time it messed with time, it would go back to the first day. i think i saw it sometimes, i might have killed it, too. some timelines i think it murdered me early and focused on head wounds so i would forget the previous timelines. sometimes it murdered papyrus and i couldn’t move, i couldn’t eat, it hurt to exist… how did you go on?”

“I got a month of leave to bury Remi and grieve. My unit was being broken up and folded into other units, so they could afford for me to grieve for a time. Quin broke into my house the second day, I’d put her as my emergency contact on some form somewhere. She dragged me out of bed, tossed me into the shower… beat the hell out of me every time I said no.” An unwilling smile quirked your lips, “She helped me with Remi’s funeral, the burial, she made me go to the doctor for sleeping pills, she showed up everyday and either cooked for me or bullied me into cooking… She dragged me to her bar when she wasn’t sure I was taking care of myself in the evenings. I went back to the army, we won, I came home. She kept giving me things to do: get a license to sell Marijuana legally, gave me a part time job at her bar, a challenge here, a nudge there and before I knew it time was passing. I didn’t go on, Quin pulled me until I started stumbling on my own.”

“huh,” Sans said softly, “i understand. i…”

I wish someone else remembered the Resets.

I wish I hadn’t been alone.

You didn’t have to be holding Sans’s soul to know his thoughts.

“You’re not alone anymore,” You promised, “If another Reset ever happens I’ll remember.”

“you don’t know that, if the above world was affected by them you never remembered before.” Sans told you softly.

“But I know, now. I’ll remember from sheer stubbornness.” You gave him a faint grin.

Sans shifted his head so he was lying on your shoulder, next to your neck, and placed one hand on your chest, above where your soul was, not touching your soul, just resting his hand above it.

“i hope you do,” He said solemnly, “I really hope you do.”

“It’s a promise, and I don’t…” You faltered for a moment. You’d once promised Remi you’d protect her from anything, and you’d failed, you'd broken that promise, “I don’t like breaking promises.” You finished.

Sans nodded into your shoulder, eyes presumably still on your soul.

“You hungry?” You prompted, noticing that the clock read nearly two behind Sans.

“sort of…” Sans said slowly, “i… would it be weird… do you have any ketchup?”

You considered for a second, you were pretty sure ketchup was one of the things you’d been neglecting to get, along with baking soda and salt, and you were also fairly certain that you didn’t have enough magic to summon anything solid just yet, but…

“I don’t, but there’s a small grocery store not too far away. I would be gone ten, maybe fifteen minutes,” You kept your eyes on Sans, watching his expression, “Will you be okay if I go?”

Sans opened his mouth, then closed it again, eyes dimming slightly.

You frowned slightly, guessing at what was bothering him, “The lawyer said there might be issues in the first couple of days before the… the contract is transferred to my name. I’m not trying to keep you locked away, or hidden away, but I am a little worried about getting in trouble, and you getting hurt or taken away and hurt while they mess around with paperwork.”

Sans glanced away from your face and removed his hand from your chest, “go ahead and go, you’re doing me a favor anyway.”

You frowned slightly, but Sans rolled out of the bed and padded out of the room quietly. You stared after him, rolling the conversation around in your head, then sighed and stood to pull on clothes. You stopped in the bathroom to brush your teeth and splash water on your face, then walked into the front room where Sans was sitting on the couch, brow furrowed in thought.

“There’s books… scattered pretty much throughout the house. You can watch TV if you want, there’s a bunch of movies… also pretty much scattered throughout the house.” You told him quietly, hesitating at the door.

“thanks.” Sans still didn’t meet your eyes, and with the distinct feeling that he had retreated from you, you walked out the door.

You kept your walk brisk, determined to not take anymore than the fifteen minute time limit you’d given Sans, and tried to figure out what you’d done to upset the monster.

It could have something to do with bringing up the Resets. You had some associated knowledge from Sans’s memories of the first seven, and thinking back on it now there was definitely a lingering darkness in the memories that signalled the downward spiral of Sans’s life.

‘Or maybe,’ The soft voice that whispered all your failures in the back of your mind offered, ‘He remembered that no matter how nice you act, no matter what magic you use, you’re human. Cruel. Sadistic. He’s touched your soul, and he might know more than anyone what sins crawl down your back.’

You opened the door into the store, nodded at the cashier, and grabbed a basket, intent on ignoring that little voice even as it continued.

‘How many people did you kill while you were still in High School? Five? Seven? More? And no matter where you aimed, you always seemed to hurt monsters during the war a lot more than Remi ever did.’ The voice reminded you darkly.

You steadied your breath and grabbed three large bottles of ketchup on your way to the baking isle.

‘I killed people in High School for self defense. More often than not, they were trying to kill me. I have hurt people, and I acknowledge that bad actions do not make me a bad person.’ You told yourself. It was what Quin told you every time you ever repeated your doubts outloud.

You continued the mantra as you went around the store, quickly gathering things you’d been procrastinating so you wouldn’t have to go shopping again soon, then bee lining for the cashier. Next to the register was a small display for naturally sourced honey.

You eyed it, then grabbed a couple of jars and added them to your basket.

The cashier, despite the cheerful smile and chirpy voice, had a dead look in his eyes that suggested he was already looking past you to whatever awaited him at home. You didn’t linger, paying him and bidding him a good day, before you had your bags and was out the door.

You were still trying to figure out what to do about Sans when you realized you weren’t walking alone anymore. You glanced to your left and fought back a grimace.

“Dante,” You said cordially, hiding your annoyance.

Dante was the leader of the ‘gang’ that had ‘claimed’ your neighborhood. He, and all of his crew, were Remi’s age and hadn’t signed up to go to war. You’d had more than one run in with his gang, before and after the war.

“_____, it’s been awhile since you’ve dropped by our side of the neighborhood.” Dante said, keeping up with your fast pace easily.

“Were you starting to miss my face? Your lot hasn’t been messing with me, so I don’t have a reason to kick any of your asses.” You said, maintaining your pleasant demeanor.

“Yeah, about that,” You were surrounded without warning. You stopped and glanced around as though you were entirely unbothered by the circle of faces, inwardly you judged you’d been out for about eight minutes, maybe nine, which meant you had six minutes to win a fight and get home before the time you’d given Sans was up, “Seems like you pissed someone off real good, buddy. They dropped off a couple hundred this morning if we’d give you a lesson in manners.”

“You mind telling me who paid your lot off to lose a fight?” You asked casually.

“Not information you need to know,” Dante grinned at you and the circle got a tiny bit tighter.

“Do you mind if I put my groceries off to the side? Or am I allowed to use them as a weapon?” Dante’s grin dropped slightly, and he stepped to the side to allow you access to the grass running along the sidewalk.

You were in trouble. You could feel your magic flickering just under your skin, as heady as an adrenalin rush, and you absolutely could not use it in a fight. If word got out that a human could use magic, the government would be on your ass before you could say the word ‘Contract’, let alone get Sans out of it. You couldn't say with certainty what would happen to monsters if it got out they could teach humans to use magic, but you could hazard a pretty good guess..

With this in mind you pushed all your magic into the liquids in the bag until you started to get light headed, then set them down gently and walked back into the circle of six people like you didn’t have a care in the world.

“It’s a shame we’ve got to mess you up so much, I’m going to miss fighting with you,” Dante mused, “You were always up for a good brawl.”

“Same,” You grinned and jerked your elbow back without warning. You hit the gut of the guy right behind you and when he doubled over you got him in the nose with the back of your fist. He went down swearing, and like an upturned anthill Dante and the other four were on you.

It was definitely a mistake stepping back in the circle, you decided when someone kicked you in the back of the knee that was holding you up while you kicked someone else in the face. You went down heavy and lashed out with your left hand, trying to prevent another kick.

You didn’t. It caught you in the ribs and you grit your teeth as you grabbed the offending leg and wretched it as hard as you could in a direction that legs did not traditionally bend. You used your momentum to roll over the offender and turn what would have been a sprain or a fracture into a good break, officially bringing your opponents down to four.

“It’s going to hurt more for everyone of my friends you injure!” Dante threatened.

Three minutes. You ignored Dante and launched yourself over the body of the person whose leg you had broken and at two people who were both aiming kicks at you. Their feet got tangled in your calves and they hit the pavement with a sickening crack. You slammed their heads against the pavement twice to insure they were out before the remaining guy wrapped an arm around your throat and yanked you off of them.

Dante hit you twice, once in the nose and once in the eye. Stars blossomed across your vision and the lightheaded feeling from a lack of magic increased exponentially. Not willing to give up his advantage, Dante kicked you in the stomach as hard as he could, knocking the wind from you.

You were definitely not going to make it home in fifteen minutes. You took a short, quick breath of air that hurt far too much, got your feet steady on the ground, grabbed the arm around your neck, and rolled forward. You realized that the person who had been holding you was a girl when the roll was a lot harder to execute and nearly clobbered you just as hard as Dante. You staggered to your feet as fast as you could manage and kicked her and Dante in the head as hard as you could, mentally swearing about other people’s centers of gravity.

You glared over at the guy nursing his bloody nose, who gave you a petulant look.

“Didn’t have to hit me so hard.” He grumbled.

“Yeah? Well it’s your dumb ass gang who came looking for a fight, Chris, and now I’m late.” You growled, limping over and grabbing your groceries. You had intentionally not hit Chris as hard as you could have, he had been Remi’s friend and all the stars in the sky knew you were a soft hearted moron.

“Late for what?”

“None of your damn business. Tell Dante, when he wakes up, if he takes money to come after me again, I’ll kill him.” You narrowed your eyes at Chris, “Do you know who set you guys after me?”

“Not a clue.” Chris shook his head, “I don’t even know why he asked me to come with, everyone knows I don’t want to fight you.”

“And yet here we are.” You started limping towards home, regretting your choice to take those kicks to your calves.

“Should I call Quin?” Chris called after you.

“Gods no, and tell Dante if I see any of you little street rats near my house he’ll wish I’d killed him.” You shot over your shoulder.

Twenty-five minutes after you left the house, you walked back in.

Sans wasn’t on the couch. The TV was off, and the house was quiet.

‘He ran, the first chance he got,’ That little voice in your head whispered, reinvigorated by your lagging energy after the fight, and you shook your head once to clear it. You extended your senses, which made the entire world lurch unpleasantly, but you managed to sense Sans in the bathroom.

Admittedly relieved, you decided to let him be for a moment and limped into the kitchen. You placed the grocery bags on the counter and grabbed a hand towel from the drawer. You loaded it with ice and placed it over your stinging eye, sighing as the ice cooled the inflamed feeling skin. One handed, you stuck the ketchup in the fridge, the honey in the cupboard where you kept tea supplies, and painstakingly put away the baking supplies.

You leaned over the sink when you were done, and just held the ice to your eye, letting the world swirl lazily around you and trying not to groan. With annoyance you watched blood plink into the sink, and hoped you hadn’t bled on the carpet in the front room on your way through. Or on anything in the cupboards. Or your clothes.

You sighed and pressed the ice harder against your eye.

“what happened to ten to fifteen?” Sans asked, but his voice was less solemn than it had been, more teasing.

“I, uh, met up with a couple of friends on the way back,” You glanced at him sheepishly. The teasing, vaguely sultry look Sans had been wearing vanished and he walked cautiously across the kitchen.

“a couple of friends?” He asked faintly, pulling the ice from your eye to get a look at you.

“Maybe not exactly the friendliest friends,” You admitted, “But I didn’t do so bad for a six on one fight.”

“how did you get hurt this bad?” Sans fretted, pushing your hair behind your ear to get a better look at your face, “your magic should have-”

“Sans,” You smiled lopsidedly at him, even though it made your nose shift and ache, “Most of my magic is in the ketchup, maybe a little got into the honey… Which reminds me, I’m going to have to check that before I use it in baking… Regardless, I’m human, Sans. What do you think would happen if a mage appeared?”

Sans looked at you, and the lights of his eyes shrank to pinpricks.

“I’d never, ever lock you guys back Underground, but the human government isn’t above torture and I’m not important enough for anyone to care if I went missing. If it means I’m a little bit light headed in a fight, or I take damage I could have avoided, then I’ll deal with it to keep you guys on the surface, as shitty as the surface may be sometimes.” You went to the freezer and grabbed more ice and added it to the dish towel so you could spread it from your eye to cover your nose.

“why did this happen?” Sans wet a paper towel and very carefully began cleaning blood from your face.

“I pissed someone off, they paid a local gang to jump me.” You shrugged and tried not to wince at what were definitely bruised ribs, “I got jumped, I won, no fatalities, and I didn’t even bust up the groceries. Win all around.”

“except the part where you got the shit beat out of you.” Sans frowned.

You gave him another lopsided grin, “You should see the other guys.”

“you’re incredibly cheery about this.” Sans set the paper towel aside and watched you.

“I like making the best out of bad shituations.”

“you have a crappy sense of humor.” Sans told you in a deadpan.

“I’ll have you know my sense of humor is sanssational.”

“are we really doing this? because it’s only fair to warn you, you’re boned. i have a skeleton of jokes.”

You grinned at Sans and continued to egg him on with puns, satisfied with having distracted him, for now. As you drove him further down the hole that was the special hell for people who enjoyed puns (“Femur careful of my feelings.” “only a bonehead challenges a pun master.”) You tried to figure out who would put Dante and his crew on your ass, and, more importantly, why?

Chapter Text

After an indeterminable amount of time making puns, you remembered what your original reason in going to the store had been.

“Oh, hey,” You placed the seeping rag, which only held a few slivers of ice now, in the sink and opened the fridge with a flourish, “I got ketchup for you. I’m still feeling pretty low on magic so I’m not sure what I could make for you to put it on but-”

“no, that’s fine, thank you…” Sans seemed a little worried, “i, uh, drink it.”

“You drink ketchup?” You asked curiously.

Sans nodded. You considered for a moment, then shrugged (wincing when you moved parts that would rather not be moved), “That’s fine, to each their own. Do you want some pasta from last night with it, or just the ketchup?”

Sans regarded you oddly, “just the ketchup would be fine.”

“Gotcha.” You grabbed one of the bottles of ketchup from the fridge and your bowl of pasta from the previous night. You popped the bowl into the microwave and then squeezed about half the bottle of ketchup into a glass, and glanced at Sans, “Is this okay? Or would you like more?”

“that’s good, thanks.” Sans was watching you with a soft look, “i, uh, appreciate it.”

You placed the ketchup on the table in front of him, then hesitated for half a second before leaning over and giving him a tentative, questioning kiss.

Sans returned it whole heartedly, grabbing the front of your shirt to keep you on his level for a few seconds longer.

You felt your cheeks warm when he let you go, but it was nothing compared to the heat in your chest, and you had to turn to retrieve your pasta before you hurt yourself smiling.

You sat across from Sans and the two of you quietly enjoyed your meal, lost in your own thoughts. You couldn't stop yourself from sneaking quick looks at Sans now and then, and it wasn’t hard to realize that the feelings that had appeared when you held his soul hadn’t disappeared.

You loved Sans. You’d known the guy for two, three? days and you loved him like you’d known him your whole life. Unconsciously your off hand rose and hovered over your chest.

Okay, to be fair, you’d sort of known him his whole life.

Suddenly you felt like you needed to talk to Quin. She was the only person you had to talk to about things like this, and she’d have some sort of advice as to how to proceed.

You snuck another look at Sans.

If he wanted to proceed, that was. You reminded yourself for the umpteenth time it wasn’t fair to pursue a real relationship with someone who was basically enslaved to you.

You narrowed your eyes, pushed your bowl away, and pulled the contract and your notes back over to you. You started reading, adding to your notes as you went. You’d find a way to break this contract, give Sans as much space as he wanted, and then you’d try for a relationship, your reputation be damned. You’d lost almost everything else good in your life, you weren’t going to lose him.

“I’m, uhm, going to go out again tomorrow,” You told Sans in between trying to figure out what a particular sentence of legal jargon meant, you remembered the look on Sans’s face from when you said you were leaving earlier and had no desire to see it back, “I need to see Quin, need to talk to her about my hours ‘nd she’s got a copier, and I need to talk to my delivery guy. Do you uhm… Do you want to come?” You glanced up from the contract for a moment to check his reaction.

At some point Sans had gotten up and rinsed his glass out, now he was drinking water and watching you with that same curiously soft look from earlier.

“i’ll catch up on some sleep,” Sans told you gently, “i, uh, i think that leash and collar bother you more than they bother me, to be honest, and you look like you’re making progress. i’ll see if you can’t break that thing by the end of the week.”

Heat rose in your cheeks again, “It’s not… I mean… Dammit, it’s seeing you like a slave that bothers me. I don’t… I don’t like it, you’re…” You wanted to say ‘You’re mine’, but you knew it wouldn't sound right under the circumstances. When you called someone yours, you meant that they were important to you, it mean that you would go to the ends of the world for them, it meant that seeing them be humiliated-that seeing Sans be humiliated would crush you. “You’re a person. With rights, and feelings, and it’s wrong.” You finished finally.

Sans stood and walked over to you. Sitting down, he was decidedly taller than you and you raised an eyebrow at him.

“stop it,” Sans instructed you, pulling you into another soul searing kiss, “you make it hard to be a rational monster.”

You looked up at him dazedly, “I… don’t understand?”

“that’s okay.” He assured you, and walked out of the kitchen into the front room. Leaning back on the chair, you saw him pick up one of your worn paperbacks and start reading.

You watched him for a moment, what you could see of him, which mostly amounted to his head and one of his arms, and wished that you actually wanted the heat in your chest to go away.

With an inaudible sigh you turned your attention back to the contract and your notes.

After an hour you had to go and get an actual notebook from the desk in the corner of your room. In the hallway you hesitated for a moment, then took a slight detour into the second bedroom.

Remi’s room was entirely as she had left it. Drawings covered the walls-You, Quin, the living room, you even spotted a few near her desk of Robbie. Her bed was still half made, and the only indication that no one lived there was the fine layer of dust covering everything. You closed your eyes, pushing away the sudden plunge your stomach had taken and the way the world had seemed to have gone quiet.

You managed to steady yourself and walked across the room to a small bookshelf, lined up meticulously by the desk. You knelt and skimmed the titles of the various disks lined up.

Inuyasha, Seasons 1-11. Full Metal Alchemist. Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood.

There it was, Mew Mew Kissy Cutie Season One, Two, Three, and Four.

You took Season Three, and after a moment Season Four. You carefully wiped the dust off the cover, and smiled at the Pink haired cat girl on the cover.

“_____, Are you even paying attention on movie night? I’m not being some ‘Cat Girl’ for Halloween, I’m Mew Mew!”

“This is just an excuse to get me to help you build a cosplay isn’t it?”

“...You sew better than I do.”

Slowly you got to your feet and walked out of the room, movies still in hand. You retrieved your notebook and went back to the kitchen to transcribe the grocery list notes to the notebook, which was slightly more organized and legible.

Notes transcribed and up to date, you took a breather to stretch your hands and fingers. Deep, heavy breathing was audible from the couch and had been for awhile. It was only about five, but it seemed like a good time to make dinner and get ready for bed. Sans seemed endlessly tired, and it made you sleepy seeing how tired he was. Regardless, it would do him good to be awake for a little while so you padded into the living room and leaned over the couch.

“Sans,” You said softly, “Sans, you need to wake up for a little bit.”

Sans inched one eye open, and you allowed yourself a moment of curiosity at the motion, because you were slightly baffled by the way Sans closed his eyes, but you were quickly distracted by this train of thought by Sans reaching up and tugging on your arm, trying to pull you over the couch.

“instead of me getting up, you should lay with me.” Sans informed you sleepily.

“You need to get up, walk around a bit,” You grinned at his sleepy disgruntled expression, “We can go to bed right after dinner, promise, but you need to eat something.”

Sans sighed heavily, “kay, fine, i’m awake but… we should just have the rest of that pasta from last night.”

“We can do that,” You said slowly, nodding and turning back into the kitchen, “Is there any particular reason?”

“well, it was good and,” You could hear Sans’s grin, “it’s already made so we can go to bed faster.”

You snorted and pulled out the pan, putting the last of the pasta into two bowls and sticking them in the microwave.

Sans stood from the couch and stretched, his white t-shirt settled around him loosely as he relaxed and made his way into the kitchen. You regarded him with a small smile, which didn’t hurt near as much as an actual smile.

The two of you enjoyed dinner much as you had lunch, mostly quiet but with the odd joke or thought tossed out. When you were finished, you both placed your bowls in the sink and turned to your bedroom.

“Oh crap,” You smacked yourself in the forehead, “Give me a sec to grab the bed stuff from the dryer and make the bed, it’ll probably be nicer than just the spare blanket.”

“i’ll help,” Sans assured you, following you to the utility closet, “i, uh, sleep there, too.”

You paused, considering, “Sans, do you… I mean, would you prefer to sleep alone?”

Sans stilled, his eyes seemed to dim slightly as he met your questioning gaze.

“I just, I mean, the first time we sort of fell asleep in the bathtub cause I was drunk and… well, I mean I never asked and I should have. It wasn’t right of me to presume you wanted to sleep together as well as, you know, sleep together. Sleep can be a very vulnerable time and-”

Sans held a finger up over your lips, stopping you mid-sentence, “i want to sleep with you, uh, i mean, if you want to sleep with me... uh, both meanings of sleep with.”

“I do, I mean as long as you do.”

“well i do, so we do.”

“We do.” You agreed.

Sans grinned and you snorted, leaning over to pull the blanket out of the dryer. You balanced that carefully while you grabbed a set of clean sheets from the cupboard. Sans guided you into the bedroom with a few jokes and then helped you strip the bed down and put it back together.

“You get ready, I need to grab something really quick,” You told Sans, who gave you a sleepy smile and crawled into the bed.

You walked quickly to the bathroom and tapped your pills into your hands and swallowed them dry. You considered yourself in the mirror for a moment, then grimaced at bruise spreading across your nose to both of your eyes and grabbed your toothbrush.

Finally some of your usual nightly routine was satisfied and you could go join Sans in bed. You let out a low hum of pleasure at the warmth still present in the blanket, and Sans wrapped around you the moment you were settled. He placed his head on your shoulder and sighed softly into your chest.

“Night sleepy bones,” You teased quietly.

“night,” Sans yawned.

You wiggled and arm under Sans and held him closer before closing your eyes and letting yourself fall asleep.

~

“_____? Remi says she hasn’t seen you in two days…”

“I killed someone Quin… He was coming at me and I killed him… How can I ever look Remi in the eye again?”

 

“SANS?”

“hey bro, how’s it going?”

“SANS I AM WORRIED ABOUT YOU. WHY HAVE YOU BEEN COMING HOME SO LATE? WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR JACKET?”

“aw, paps, i don’t mean to come home so late. i just… i’ve been having… fun. at my new job. i get… lost.”

“OH. WELL, IF THAT IS ALL BROTHER THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME! THE GREAT PAPYRUS DOES WORRY!”

“sure thing paps.”

“WHAT… WHAT DID HAPPEN TO YOUR JACKET SANS?”

 

“Where’s daddy, _____?”

“I don’t know Remi.”

“Oh. Where’s mommy?”

“She died Remi.”

“Oh… What are we going to do?”

“We’ll be fine Remi, I’ll take care of you. I won’t let anything happen to you, promise.”

 

“Sans, please, stop this. We’ll find a way for you and Papyrus!”

“i don’t know what you’re talking about tori.”

“Sans, I can see your soul. You’re hurting yourself, you have to stop this.”

“tori... i don’t have a choice. it’s the only way to keep papyrus safe. it was hard enough for asgore to make sure you kept custody of frisk and got a house, and i’m not going to let you put yourself out in the humans working world for me.”

“Sans, this is hurting you.”

“i’m fine tori. i’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

She looked up at you/He looked back at you

She said your name/He said your name

She smiled as she died/His face asked you for answers as he fell to dust

Chapter Text

You woke up before your alarm. There was no slow transition from sleep to wakefulness, one moment you were asleep and the next you were awake. The room was awash in a shade of pale grey as the early morning light tried to spill past your curtains, but you almost couldn't see it. Etched into your vision were the faces of Remi and Papyrus as they died.

Sans shifted slightly and you tugged him a touch closer, resting your cheek against the top of his head. You closed your eyes and tried to wipe away the images by focusing on the thrum of magic in Sans’s bones and the sound of his breathing. Slowly, piece by piece, their faces faded back into your subconscious and you opened your eyes back up with a sigh, you knew you’d never get back to sleep now.

A glance at the clock showed it was about five minutes until eight, so you reached over to your phone and turned your morning pill reminder off and sighed as you wiggled Sans out of your arms. He let out a sleepy whine and grabbed blindly at your arm.

“Go back to sleep,” You murmured to him. Half asleep Sans grumbled out an acceptance and grabbed the pillow you’d been lying on, curling around it. A small smile crept across your face, and you made your way to the bathroom, limping and wincing as the bruises from the day before made themselves known in aches and pains. You grabbed your two pills, and added a couple of aspirin, turning towards the kitchen and grabbing a glass of milk to wash them down with.

The sun peaked through the kitchen window, making you squint your eyes against the light as you finished off your milk. This wasn’t exactly the time you wanted to start your day off, particularly with a cuddly skeleton waiting in your bed for you. You considered the time, and how long it would take to make copies of Sans’s contract and your notes, talk to Quin long enough to reassure her you weren’t in any immediate danger of disappearing into a black hole, catch up with Danny, and still be back before BP and Papyrus.

You had an hour-ish to cuddle with Sans before you risked being on a tight schedule.

You put your milk glass in the sink, and made your way back into the bedroom. Sans was watching the door with a morose gaze, which immediately brightened when you walked through the door.

“Thought I told you to go back to sleep?” You teased, slipping back under the covers with a happy sigh.

“wasn’t the same.” Sans murmured, nestling his face into your neck.

You wrapped an arm around him and laced the fingers of your free hand with his under the covers.

“changed my mind,” Sans murmured into your neck, eliciting a trail of shivers down your spine, “don’t want you to go anywhere. stay with me.”

“I need to go,” You murmured, “I need to make copies of the contract and the notes I’ve taken for Toriel, Quin’s going to go insane or break down the door, and I need to talk to my delivery boy.”

“Delivery boy?” Sans looked up at you with a raised brow bone.

“Your remember the now-legal drugs I insert into baked goods and sell? I stopped being my own delivery person the year I got back. I pay this kid, Danny, to do it for me.”

“huh…” Sans mused, “i’m still pretty sure there’s no reason to get out of bed, though.”

“Not for another hour or so.” You agreed with a small smile, pulling him closer and snuggling with him. Sans hummed into the side of your neck and his hand started to run over your stomach lightly.

“I thought you wanted to sleep?” You teased quietly.

“i said i didn't want you to leave, i didn’t say why.” Sans’s hand brushed the top of your pajama pants.

*

You rolled over and braced yourself on arms and knees over him. Sans smiled up at you, his magic dusting his cheekbones a dark blue.

“You’re killing me, you know that?” You sighed, leaning on one hand so you could trail the other over his ribs up to stroke his cheekbone.

“i’m not sure what you mean,” Sans leaned into your touch, looking up at you. You thought for a moment that his eyes looked like hearts, but it was gone a second after you saw it.

“I…” Love you. Need you. The words got stuck in your throat and you swallowed, “The way your voice goes breathless, the brush of your magic, the look in your eyes, just… you drive me crazy ba-Sans.”

Sans’s expression, flirty and sultry, had fallen away into something warmer, “i… i know what you mean. i feel the same.”

You didn’t think he really did, but you leaned down to kiss him and tried to communicate what you couldn’t manage to say out loud. You trailed your hand down his ribs and his spine, and lightly grasped his shaft.

“f-fuck,” Sans’s eyes flickered closed as he inhaled sharply.

“Look at me Sans,” You murmured, stroking him, “Open your eyes.”

Sans’s breathing grew ragged as you moved, but he opened his eyes and looked up at you with a dazed look.

You kept up a slow and steady pace, watching his face. Sans writhed under you, trying to force more speed and friction, but you were very careful to maintain your pace.

“please,” Sans panted, “faster, please?”

“Just because you asked so nicely,” You purred, picking up the speed of your stroking.

Sans moaned, so low it went straight to your core. Slowly you increased the speed of your stroking, watching his face as he came apart under you. A few times Sans glanced away shyly, and you slowed down until he brought his eyes back to you.

Without warning Sans brought both his arms up and wrapped them around your neck, pulling you into a searing kiss. A second later he stiffened and moaned into your mouth as he came all over himself and your hand.

“Fuck that was hot,” You breathed when Sans fell back.

*

Sans didn’t respond, but grabbed both your wrists firmly and flipped you over onto your back.

“Sans?” You questioned softly.

“i want you,” He breathed, “_____, fuck, i want you so bad. i want you to scream my name, i want to hold you, i want you to be mine.”

Your heart pounded in your chest and fire burned in your veins.

“You’re not supposed to say that.” You whispered, “We’ve only known each other for four days and-and-and-”

“i think about it all the time,” sans murmured, “ever since i… since i… since you touched my soul the first time. i can only barely feel the heat because your touch is warmer. i can’t get lost in my own mind, in the heat, because i’m already lost in your soul. you’re in my thoughts, my dreams, my soul…”

You wished Sans would let go of your wrists so you could grab ahold of him before you woke up, so you could hold on tight to this dream and never wake up.

“Sans,” You whispered.

“i’m sorry, monster relationships can move this fast, but human relationships don’t and i know i’m just making things harder on you everytime i open my mouth-”

“Sans.”

“-you don’t have to feel the same. you don’t ever have to see me again after the contract’s broken if you don’t want to-”

“Sans.”

“-but i had to say something, i’m sorry-”

It wasn’t easy, but you managed to shift his grip enough for you to leverage yourself up onto your elbows and stop Sans with a kiss. It was more than slightly surreal to hear some of your own thoughts spilling out of his mouth, but you weren’t going to let him walk away from this situation without knowing you felt the same.

“I’ll be yours,” You told him earnestly in the silence your kiss had caused, “If you’ll be mine?”

Sans looked down at you in stunned silence as you fell back onto the bed. A tentative grin appeared on his face, “really?”

“Really.”

“I am yours, and you are mine?” Sans confirmed.

“I am yours, and you are mine.” You agreed.

*

Sans’s grin shifted to blinding and he leaned down to thoroughly kiss you. Slowly he trailed his kiss down the side of your mouth to your neck.

Your breath hitched and you tried to pull your hands free so you could touch Sans, could grab him and hold him close. You could still feel Sans’s hard length pressed against you, but when you tugged at your wrists again he pulled your hands over your head and lightly held them there with one hand.

“Let me touch you,” Sans whispered into your neck. He let your hands go and you left them where he’s put them, trying to control how hard your heart was beating and the heat rising in your cheeks. Sans moved up and balanced on one hand, looking down at you with a wicked gleam in the lights of his eyes. His fingers ghosted over your arms, and your shoulder, and he spent a moment tracing the lines of your collar bone. Then, slowly, giving you plenty of time to protest, he pulled your sleeping shirt off.

Suddenly very aware of the old scars and the fresh bruises that littered your torso, you glanced away from Sans’s face.

“look at me,” Sans repeated your words from earlier with a low voice. You forced yourself to meet his eyes and Sans gave you a soft reassuring smile.

He seemed genuinely determined to get to know every inch of you. His gaze moved from your eyes, but you knew where he was looking by the gentle sensation of fingertips on your skin.

Sans paused and traced around the sore spot on your ribs where you’d been kicked yesterday. Glancing down, you could see a decent sized yellowish green bruise coloring your skin.

“It’ll be gone in a week or two,” You told him softly.

“i don’t like seeing you hurt,” Sans whispered.

You weren’t sure what to say to that, but Sans pressed another kiss to your lips and he was moving again. His fingers brushed over your stomach, down to where your pajama pants sat on your hips. Sans looked up and his eyes met yours with a silent question. You nodded and Sans’s expression turned wicked again as he slipped your pants and underwear off.

You brought your arms down from above your head in one quick movement to grab the bed as Sans started to nibble and lick on your inner thighs.

“Sans,” You breathed, “Sans…” You weren’t sure what you were trying to say, but he let out a satisfied sound.

“say my name again.”

“Sans, please,” You felt like you were burning alive.

And then you were melting. You saw one flash of Sans’s wicked grin, and his tongue, before you threw your head back and your thoughts turned to an unending appreciation of Sans, and the restrained power of a thunderstorm between your legs, inside you. Your entire body felt like it had been struck by electricity and before long you could feel your muscles tensing up.

You resisted for as long as you could, selfishly wanting to hold on to this feeling, wanting it to last for the rest of your life, but Sans wasn’t privvy to these thoughts. He was relentless and you were so caught up in him, in what he was doing, that you did’t notice the green and blue haze surrounding the both of you as your magics tried to intertwine.

Sans met your eyes for just a moment, and then it was over. Your thoughts turned to static as you stiffened and pleasure washed over you.

“Sans!”

Your heart was pounding almost out of your chest and you couldn’t seem to catch your breath. Sans crawled up and layed beside you, still visibly hard, but looking incredibly smug.

“have i mentioned that i love to hear you moan my name?” He murmured.

You narrowed your eyes playfully as your breathing evened out and you rolled over to straddle him. He looked up at you, and this time you knew you weren’t imagining it.

His eyes were shaped like hearts.

“Fuck,” You sighed, leaning down to kiss him, “Goddammit Sans, goddammit. I love you.”

Sans tangled his fingers in your hair, kissing you back heatedly.

“i love you, too, _____” He murmured against your lips, “more than all the stars in the sky.”

You reached down and took ahold of his shaft again. Sans hummed against your lips and only let go reluctantly as you pulled away. You lined him up against your entrance, and then held his gaze as you slowly took his full length in. You didn’t wait to start moving, and Sans gripped your hips as he thrust up to meet you. You covered his hands with your own and rode him, not trying to control your pace or speed for once, just wanting to feel this connection with Sans, just wanting to feel him inside you.

You felt your second release rising like a tide, but you held it tightly, watching Sans as he groaned. Eventually you couldn’t hold it back anymore and you cried out as Sans kept thrusting, finishing a few moment after you.

*

You collapsed next to Sans, breathing heavily and cuddling with him. Sans intertwined his legs with yours and laid his head against your chest with a soft hum.

You stayed like this for a long time, tangled together and just enjoying the silence, sore and relaxed in the same breath.

“I need to shower,” You finally sighed, shifting your leg in a half hearted attempt to untangle yourself from Sans.

“i thought we decided you weren’t leaving?” Sans held you tighter.

“No, you said you didn’t want me to go, and then we both got thoroughly distracted. I need to go.” You stretched and managed to pull your legs free of Sans’s.

Sans sighed in defeat, “fine, well… keep me abed of the situation.”

You snorted, sitting up, then paused, “Sans, do you have a cellphone?”

“course i do, it’s…” Sans’s voice trailed off and when you looked at him his eyes had gone dark, “oh. uh... i did. i don’t anymore.”

Without hesitation you layed back down and wrapped Sans in your arms, sensing you accidentally managed to find another sore spot to poke.

“i’m fine,” He murmured into your shoulder, “i just forgot, it’s okay.”

“Did you forget because it slipped your mind? Or because some asshole drugged you and broke your phone?” You asked softly.

Sans arms tightened around you.

“I’m sorry,” You whispered, feeling a sudden exhaustion radiating from Sans.

“it’s not your fault,” Sans whispered, “i just forgot. i’m okay, you should go shower and get ready.”

You considered protesting, but Sans was already loosening his grip on you and was backing away with a reassuring smile.

You reached out and stopped his retreat for a moment, long enough to press a sweet kiss to his cheek, “I love you.” You told him firmly before rising out of the bed. You considered briefly telling him about Papyrus visiting later, but decided a good surprise would be nice after all he’d been through.

Papyrus. He was going to die without ever seeing Papyrus again, that’s what he’d been told, that was part of the deal.

You stilled.

“Sans?” You glanced over at him.

“mm?”

“I… there was nothing in the contract about Papyrus, but…” You chewed on your lip in the second, “When you shared your soul… you had a thought, about not seeing Papyrus again…”

Sans looked at you from where he’d burrowed in the blankets, “o-oh… i… r-robbie, when i signed the contract… he said if i ever tried to speak with papyrus, or see him again while i was contracted to robbie… he said he’d kill paps in front of me.”

You were back at the bed, kneeling next to Sans and hugging him around the blanket cocoon, before you really registered what you were doing.

“I won’t let that happen.” You swore.

“well, i’m not really contracted to him anymore am i?” Sans grinned at you, “it’s not really something i have to worry about with you.”

“No,” You confirmed, “It’s not.”

“you’re never going to make it to the shower with the progress you’re making.” Sans told you with a wink.

“Okay,” You sighed, slowly standing up again, kissing Sans firmly one more time before grabbing a new set of underthings, a shirt, and a pair of pants.

You showered and dressed, and when you went to pick up your phone you noticed you had missed three text messages.

Quin (9:11 AM):
So I know you asked for cloth swatches, but I found what you need. Trust me.

Quin (9:12 AM):
I know I said it would take a couple of days. I lied. I immediately went out and found something and it was perfect.

Quin (9:13 AM):
Stop ignoring me, I know you’re awake.

You shook your head and stuck your phone in your pocket and peaked into the bedroom, “Sans, I-”

Sans was asleep. He’d thoroughly cocooned himself in the blankets and his expression was peaceful, or what you could see of it since only the top half of his head was poking out of the blankets.

You leaned against the doorway and smiled softly, suddenly unwilling to leave. Your pocket buzzed with another text from Quin and very reluctantly you straightened and closed the door softly.

Quin (9:37 AM):
_____ I saw that ‘Read’ notification. You best not be ignoring me.

You shook your head and nabbed your wallet from the counter, the notebook and contract from the table, your keys from their hook, pulled your shoes on, and left, making sure to lock the door behind you.

To Quin (9:39 AM):
I’m on my way over, I wasn’t ignoring you, I was in the shower.

Quin (9:39 AM):
It takes you ten minutes to shower, and you wake up at eight. What were you really doing?

You considered the phone. You were fairly certain Quin would never have any issues with you and Sans, but you were feeling oddly paranoid.

To Quin (9:40 AM):
You can’t wait for me to walk to the bar to interrogate me?

Quin (9:40 AM):
You’re being evasive! I require explanations! And if the explanations aren’t enough I may require drawn diagrams and a complicated dissertation.

To Quin (9:41 AM):
Why do you do this to me? Why do I deserve it?

Quin (9:42 AM):
You’re being punished for a past life of sin. How far away are you?

To Quin (9:42 AM):
Ten or eleven minutes. Put some clothes on. Why are you up so early? You usually sleep in until noon?

Quin (9:43 AM):
Just woke up early, started texting you, got ignored. I was up early yesterday, to, not sure why.  I’m feeling unloved _____.

To Quin (9:43 AM):
I didn’t ignore you on purpose, I was busy.

Quin (9:44 AM):
‘Showering’?

To Quin (9:45 AM):
… Yes. Showering. Stop being suspicious.

Quin (9:45 AM):
I reserve all rights to be suspicious over any and everything. Especially your shower lie.

To Quin (9:46 AM):
I might have been messing around and not gotten around to the shower just yet! I’m not on a set shower schedule or anything.

Quin (9:47 AM):
It was twenty minutes before you answered me, and my Spidey Senses are telling me you weren’t ignoring me for the shower.

To Quin (9:48 AM):
Quin… You have spidey senses? You don’t even like Spiderman because they’ve rebooted the movie too many times?

Quin (9:49 AM):
LOOK. IT’S.
THEY SHOULD HAVE JUST STUCK WITH TOBEY MAGUIRE. HE WASN’T PERFECT, BUT HE DID HIS BEST.

To Quin (9:49 AM):
It’s been years Quin, let Tobey rest.

Quin (9:50 AM):
... I will let your distraction stand for now, but you’d best be in front of my door in the next five minutes or less to explain what you were really doing.

You rolled your eyes and stuck your phone in your pocket. The last couple of minutes to Quin’s Place passed quickly enough and you didn’t even get the chance to reach for the door before it was open and you were being tugged inside.

“Spill.” Quin pinned you with a knowing look and then her eyes opened wide, “Oh my god, are you okay? What happened?!”

You raised a hand to your eye, “Oh, uh… Dante and his gang got paid off to try and take me down-”

“YOU HAD A HIT PUT ON YOU AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN CALL ME?!” Quin grabbed your arm like she could pull you out of yesterday’s danger.

“Quin, it wasn’t really a hit, I mean I don’t think they were trying to kill me. They were just gonna jump me, but I beat the shit out of them. It’s fine,” You assured her.

Quin let out a long drawn out sigh, “It’s… _____, You got hurt, I wish you’d told me is all.”

“It would have just upset you,” You said sheepishly.

“Well now I’m upset and doubly upset because you didn’t tell me,” Quin sniffed.

“Okay, you love me, I get it. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, I’ll let you know when I’m hurt in the future.” You gave her a quick hug, slightly awkward since she still had ahold of your arm.

“Okay, well, if you promise I’ll forgive you this time,” Quin gave a little bit.

You nodded after half of a second, “Sure Quin, I promise I’ll tell you when I get hurt.”

“Good,” Quin sighed in relief, “Now, spill. What were you doing this morning?”

“It’s… It’s a bit of a story. Would you mind if I used your office to make some copies of this while I told you?” You held the notebook with the contract tucked inside up.

“Sure thing. Does this story start with your new friend Sans?” Quin lead you back to the bar’s office.

“Yes and no,” You turned her printer on, “It kind of starts with a friend of mine, BP?”

“You’ve mentioned him before,” Quin agreed, “He’s the cat guy right?”

“Yeah, him. Well, when we met last he said that a friend of his was missing, and the guy’s little brother was worried about it…” You kept your head down, but felt Quin still beside you, “I said I’d keep an eye out. What were the chances I was gonna find him out of all people?”

“He was the skeleton, wasn’t he?” Quin asked, “The one you got away from Robbie?”

“What were the odds of that asshole making another older sibling’s life hell?” You shot Quin a thin smile as you loaded the contract into the printer and pressed the Copy option.

“Alright, so that explains why you went avenging angel on him. What happened next?” Quin pressed gently.

“I, uh, got him to my house, got in contact with BP because of what I heard Robbie saying about ecstasy and shit-”

“I wasn’t there for that, what did he say?” Quin frowned.

You blushed, “It, uh, puts monsters in heat and their magic can’t burn through it naturally.”

Quin scowled in the direction of the door, “That sonuvabitch. I should find him and kick his ass.”

You thought of Sans, thinking that he’d get his brother killed if he ever tried to see him again, and your fists curled around the notebook you still held, “You have no idea.” You grumbled.

Quin took a deep breath, “Okay, you got him home, contacted BP, and then?”

“He sent over someone who could explain monster heat to me in better, she, uh, taught me how to help him out and so now I’m trying to break the contract, and keep him sane, and imayhavefalleninlovewithhimandyeah.”

“Repeat that last bit a tiny bit slower for me?” Quin raised an eyebrow.

You pulled one page of notes from the notebook and switch the contract out for it, making the same number of copies, “I may have fallen in love with him… and yeah. It’s… He’s good Quin. There’s this thing that, uh, magic can apparently do to, uh, let people share parts of themselves? And we, uh, did. I… uh, may be desperately, disgustingly in love with the skeleton?”

Quin was silent for a long time, watching you switch the first notebook page out for the second.

“You said he was good?” She asked softly.

Your heart clenched, “Yeah,” You said softly, your breath catching, “He’s good Quin. He… He loves his brother so much, and he’s been so… so hurt and he’s still going Quin. He didn’t have anyone who could see him like you saw me, so he had to do it by himself.”

“Not even his brother?”

“It would have been failure,” You raised a hand to your chest, where your soul felt like it was shattering, “He would have seen it as a failure for Papyrus to realize how hurt he was.”

Quin wrapped an arm around you, “He’s got you now, sweetie.”

You leaned against Quin, “I feel… I don’t know, I love him so much it hurts Quin.”

“It’s a good hurt, right?” Quin verified.

“Yeah, like he’s stretching all the muscles I use to love and making it so I can be more, a better person because he’s taking all the love I have and making sure I can love even more.” You slipped another page in to be copied.

“Then I’m so happy for you,” Quin beamed, “I’d like to meet him when he’s feeling a little better. He’s the reason you were ignoring me this morning?”

“Yeah,” You glanced away, “I, uh, didn’t even realize you’d messaged me, we were a bit distracted with stuff.”

“Mm Hm.” Quin made a knowing noise and you made a point of not looking at her, “Well, finish that up and I’ll show you the stuff I got you.”

“Last page,” You promised, slipping the sheet in.

Finally you collected the copies, you’d made four of each, and followed Quin up the stairs to her apartment.

“I know you wanted swatches, but I saw this in the store and It just felt… right.” Quin told you, “I tried to look at a couple of others, but it was sitting there and there was a sticker on it saying they wouldn't be getting anymore in so I just got it for you.”

“You didn’t have to do that,” You said softly, “I could have bought it.”

“It’s been so long since you’ve made anything…” Quin shook her head, “I was glad to buy it for you _____.”

She opened her door and you saw it sitting there.

Disbelief swamped you. You walked forward and reached out, running a hand over the bolt.

“Did I do good?”

It was impossible for Quin to have somehow have picked up fabric that looked and felt exactly like Sans’s jacket had…

And yet…

“It’s perfect Quin,” You glanced at her in awe.

“It was crazy, I felt like there was someone standing over my shoulder whispering that it was just what you needed,” Quin grinned, “I got you some faux fur, too. It’s under the bolt.”

Slowly you picked up the bolt of cloth and looked down at the equally perfectly matched bit of fur under it.

“It felt like decent jacket material,” Quin said happily.

“It will be, it is,” You shook your head, “You did really great, I’m… really, thanks.”

Quin smiled and reached out, stealing the copies you’d made and putting a set together before taking it back.

“What are you doing?” You asked curiously.

“Helping you, I dealt with a lot of legalese without a lawyer getting the bar. If I can help you and your new skelebae, I will.” Quin grinned.

“Skelebae?” You made a face at her.

“Vertabae? Bonefriend? Part-ner?”

“Part-ner is the biggest stretch. He’s a whole skeleton.” You shot her down immediately.

“Either way, I want to help,” Quin told you, her grin fading slightly, “You’re my best friend _____, I love you and I don’t want to see you hurt.”

You glanced away, “Thanks Quin… love you, too.”

“I know it,” Quin winked.

Your phone buzzed in your pocket and you pulled it out after an apologetic glance at Quin.

BP (10:23 AM):
Bud, I’m so sorry, I might be coming up a bit earlier. There’s some people who want to meet you.  Sorry.

You frowned at the message for a long minute. You honestly couldn't think of who would want to meet you.

“Sorry Quin,” You murmured, “I just need to respond to this really quickly.”

To BP (10:24 AM):
Okay? Can I get a clue as to who? You’re still bringing Papyrus right?

“Who is it?” Quin asked curiously.

“BP, I’m having him, Sans’s brother, and, uh, a couple of others over I guess.” You tried not to look as confused as you felt.

It couldn’t be too awful, right? Worse case scenario had already sort of happened. You couldn’t imagine anymore more important than the former Queen of Monsters showing up at your door.

BP (10:25 AM):
Yeah buddy. I'll be over with Papyrus, the Captain of the Royal Guard, and King Asgore himself.

Chapter Text

Something in your face must have betrayed you, because Quin immediately reached for the phone with one hand and tried to pull you into a hug with her free hand.

“Are you okay? What’s wrong? What’s happened?” She demanded immediately.

“It’s fine,” You gently eluded her hug and held your phone out of reach, “Just a, uh, thing I was expecting but not so soon.”

Quin scowled, “You look like-like you received a death sentence! Don’t lie to me!”

“Ah, geez Quin,” You rubbed the back of your neck, “It’s fine, really, I was just… really taken aback. It’s just BP, I asked him to bring Papyrus over for Sans and he said it’s going to have to be a little earlier than expected.”

“You aren’t scared of BP, are you really that frightened over Papyrus?” Quin’s suspicious look loosened slightly.

You didn’t answer Quin for a moment, pretending to be thinking over the question.

Really you were worried for another reason.

You were, officially, a mage. Toriel had given you a way to help Sans, and you wouldn't go back and change that but…

You were a human mage. All it would take was one slip, a picture taken in front of a window, Sans being in danger in public, and you would be revealed. Seven human mages had sealed monsters underground for over a thousand years, what government wouldn’t give their left arm for that kind of power?

BP had said that Asgore generally went along with what Toriel said, but she was the former Queen of Monsters for a reason. You knew she’d only managed to keep custody of Frisk by the tips of her claws because the story of how she had stood against the king declaring war on humanity had somehow begun circulating in the human world.

Toriel couldn’t stop Asgore from killing seven kids when they were married. You were an adult mage with the potential to destroy what little bit monsters had managed to scrape together on the surface.

You were going to die, the only question was whether Asgore would give you time to get your affairs in order.

“_____?” Quin prompted gently, drawing you from your thoughts.

“He, uh… He’s Sans’s world, has been his world for so long, what if he doesn’t like me?” You blurted the first thing to come to mind.

Quin’s face gentled and she bit her lip for a moment, then offered gently, “Just treat Papyrus the way you wished people would have treated Remi and I’m sure everything will be okay.”

You felt guilty. You were a little worried about meeting Papyrus, Sans’s memories of the tall skeleton had made you adore him without ever meeting him, but you hated lying to Quin.

“Thank Quin,” You murmured, “I… I will. And… You’re the best, you know?”

“I know it,” Quin winked exaggeratedly and you snorted, quickly typing a response out to BP.

To BP (10:29 AM):
How much earlier?

“I’d better get going Quin, but my week off is almost up, so I’ll be in soon,” You smiled at her easily, despite knowing this might be the last time you saw her.

“Alright, I’ll let you go,” Quin considered for a moment, then added, “Sans is welcome to come with you on your shifts, if he wants, I know it can get pretty boring staying at home all the time.”

“Quin, I-”

“I’ll take care of anyone who starts trouble, and I honestly don’t mind if I get labelled ‘Monster Friendly’,” Quin told you flatly.

“Quin,” You started again.

“‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’, that’s the quote right?” Quin’s expression was deadly serious as she met your eyes, “It’s time I stopped doing nothing, especially when I never liked how monsters were treated in the first place.”

“You’ll get the bar burned down,” You sighed, pulling Quin into a hug.

“They I’ll come sleep on your couch,” Quin hugged you fiercely, “But at least I’ll know I’ve done better.”

“You’re the best Quin, never doubt it.” You told her firmly. Your pocket vibrated and you reluctantly pulled away.

BP (10:31 AM):
Probably noon, I’m so sorry buddy.

“Yikes, I definitely need to go,” You sighed.

“Here,” Quin disappeared into a hall closet for a second and re-emerged with a bright orange tote, “You can put your stuff in here to make it easier to carry home.”

“I can probably carry it with no problem,” You reassured her.

“You might have been able to, but I’ve been stress knitting all week…” Quin gave you an unrepentant smile.

“What did you make this time?” You asked with a small smile. Quin was the Queen of stress crafting. She knit, crocheted, and sewed regularly, and every time she got the slightest bit worried about something a new project unfolded. Half of your wardrobe was made of things she’d made when you’d been drafted into the Underwar. As a small business owner, she hadn’t been drafted and had been encouraged to stay in the city and keep things ‘normal’ for the others who hadn’t been drafted or hadn’t met the criteria.

“A blanket,” Quin admitted, “I just… I had some spare yarn, and I was worried about you, and I said I wouldn’t call and before I knew it my spare yarn was gone.” She disappeared again, this time towards the door you knew concealed her bedroom, and she returned a moment later holding a folded blanket in a soft yellow color.

“It’s gorgeous Quin,” You told her, running a hand over the comfortable material.

“And since it’s all your fault that I have yet another stress blanket, I want you to take it.” Quin put the blanket in the tote, “You could use it as a couch blanket, or you could give it to Sans’s brother. As an introduction gift.”

“Quin, stop, you’re making me feel emotions!” You chided, glancing away to hide the blush you could feel rising in your cheeks.

“Emotions are good for you,” Quin grinned, taking the notebook and the copies you’d made and tucking them in a fold of the blanket so they were less likely to bend, and then adding the bolt of cloth and the length of faux fur, “You have all your patterns, zippers, buttons, needles and thread still, right?”

“Yes Quin,” You said obediently, accepting the tote from her with a thankful smile, “You’re the best, really.”

Quin pulled you into another tight hug, “Be safe. If you have more trouble with Dante’s gang call me and I’ll see if I can’t do something about them.”

“Yes, Secret-Head-of-the-Criminal-Underground,” You shook your head and followed her out the door when she let you do.

“You end up with a lot of favors when you’re the bartender at your own bar, never underestimate my criminal underground,” Quin sighed slightly as she lead you to the door, “Text me? I’ll try to avoid calling, but I will if you don’t respond quickly enough.”

Your cheeks turned red again, “Ah, give me… Like half an hour before you panic between texts, alright?”

Quin quirked an eyebrow and nodded, “Alright, you get half an hour before I start calling you until I get an answer.”

“You’d get me killed in a horror movie,” You told her, walking out the door.

“Then you’d better answer and yell at me what’s happening while you beat the ominous supernatural force up,” Quin shouted out the door after you.

You waved good-bye to her, and glanced down at the tote with warm feelings swamping you.

You didn’t know where you’d be without Quin.

~

Quin watched you go with her heart in her throat. She’d known you since elementary, been friends with you since middle school. She had been there when your dad disappeared, and when your mom died, and she had been there when you’d come home shattered from the Underwar.

She knew when you were lying to her.

Sure, you lied a lot when you felt you had to. You had this frustrating habit of lying to keep people safe while you took all the heat of a situation.

The way your face had looked when you saw that text was the exact same way you’d looked when Quin had found you in a park at fourteen years old, covered in dried blood, faced with your own mortality, and that you’d killed a man. Quin didn’t know what you’d been doing in the two days before she called you, faced with a lost and lonely Remi crying on her couch, but you’d lost part of yourself in those two days and try as hard as she could, Quin couldn’t help you find it.

Quin sighed as you turned the corner out of sight and closed the door, locking it. She made her way back to the office, the copy of your contract and notes in hand, and settled down to read them.

Quin firmly believed that there was give and take in the world, if you put enough good out into the world then something good had to happen eventually. Life only took from you until it had nothing left to take, and then it gave something back.

She had to think that, otherwise it made a world where you lost your chance to be a child, your parents, and then your sister a world that was too unfair to believe in.

You were the closest thing she had to a sibling, and she’d thought of Remi as a little sister as well. She’d done her best to give you something good every time the world gave you a harsh slap, but a Tolkien party with you and Remi in cloaks couldn’t erase the shadows of another week spent pretending to be your deceased mother to keep social services off of your and Remi’s backs.

Quin eyed the contract thoughtfully, if this obstacle could be removed, then maybe Sans would help with some of the give back the world owed your broken life.

The phone sitting on her desk rang as Quin pulled out a notebook to notate her own observations. With a low she she answered it and spoke with a cheery voice.

“Quin’s Place, Quin speaking, we’re not open until three-”

“Don’t hang up.”

The voice sounded… odd, like whoever was on the other line was using a voice synthesizer. Quin glanced at the caller idea and frowned when she saw it was an anonymous number.

“I just have one warning. If I see that skeleton or its owner in your bar, I’ll have to hurt you.”

“Who the fuck is this?” Quin demanded, jumping up and running to the door of the office so she could look out the glass door and windows.

“Someone who doesn’t want to see a human get hurt because of trash like that.”

“Yeah well, fuck you buddy. If you come anywhere near here I’ll have the cops on your ass in a second, and you’re an asshole if you think I’m not armed.” Quin snarled, holding the doorknob to the office door tight as she scanned the sidewalks out the windows.

“Remember, if I see them I’ll have to hurt you.”

~

You swore under your breath as you walked away from the bank. You probably shouldn't have lost your temper when the person behind the counter told you that they needed more time to handle such large withdrawals, but he’d been dismissive as soon as you walked through the door, all but rude when you told him you needed to make a withdrawal, and then overly flirty as soon as he brought your account balance up.

You’d gotten your withdrawal out, but you’d also told him that you were giving him formal notice to close your account with them because you weren’t dealing with them anymore.

Which had turned a five minute stop already gone wrong, into a forty five minute ordeal that refused to end.

Although, maybe, if you were perfectly honest with yourself, more than a little bit of your acting out had had to do with the woman opening an account that had a leash on a meek fire elemental. It had made you willing to fight any human you spoke to, and it had been the counter persons own actions that had drawn that ire down upon himself.

You held the orange tote, now also containing three thousand dollars, close and broke into a light jog, wanting to have a little time to clean up and let Sans get ready. You kept up a quiet litany of swears the entire time and only slowed down at the entrance to your front yard, bracing yourself on your knees for a moment to catch your breath. A few moments later you straightened and pulled your keys out of your pocket to unlock the door.

You froze when nothing happened. You turned the key the other way and the lock slid into place.

You always locked the door, you’d never gone a day in your life without locking the door. You’d even had a thought about getting a deadbolt or a chain while you locked it this morning, because you were worried about Dante getting in and hurting Sans.

Sans!

You unlocked the door and yanked it open, biting your lip hard a second later and forcing yourself to be quiet as you stepped in and slid the door shut softly behind you. You hung your keys up carefully so you wouldn't jingle as you walked, and retrieved the broken black ski pole you had put behind the door for situations like this. You placed Quin’s tote down and wrapped both hands around the ski pole, walking as quietly as you could manage.

First you peered into the kitchen. It looked totally untouched and after careful observation you couldn’t spot anywhere someone could be hiding. Slowly you backed out and walked around the corner, carefully checking around the corner to reveal an empty hallway. You stepped as carefully as you could manage, shooting a brief look at Remi’s closed door, and the bathroom, but the urge to check on Sans was almost a physical need.

Your door was still closed, which you prayed was a good sign. You remembered the dust that covered everything in Remi’s room, and your stomach twisted at the thought of opening the door to a pile of dust.

You silently breathed in deeply and jerked the door open, the ski pole still clutched in one hand, and took in the bedroom as quickly as you could.

It looked untouched from this morning. Sans lay curled under the blankets, his face scrunching slightly as he was hit by a new source of light. You quickly eyed the corners and dark spots in your room before dropping to your knees and checking under the bed.

Nothing. Not a sock out of place.

“_____?” Sans asked sleepily, “why are you kneeling in the doorway? what are you holding?”

“Uhm, it’s… I’m…” You glanced around again and assured yourself there was no one hiding in your room. You did a quick check behind the door to be safe, “I’m… just being a little paranoid I guess… Would you do me a favor and stay in here a second while I double check my paranoia?”

“sure? Is there any reason behind this paranoia?” Sans asked, trying to sound casual, but you could hear the quietest note of worry.

“The door was unlocked,” You gave him a reassuring smile, “I… I guess I might have unlocked it instead of locking it? I just want to make sure it’s okay before you come out.”

You hadn’t. You’d made that mistake once as a kid and your mom had scared the life out of you when you’d gotten back from school. You never forgot to lock the door.

“oh... okay,” Sans agreed, the tiny bit of tenseness defusing.

You shot him a reassuring look as you turned around and proceeded to carefully check the utility closet, and the bathroom. Your hand closed on the knob of Remi’s door, and paused as, just for a moment, you felt the sensation of something odd.

You pulled on your magic, opening yourself to the sensation of the house.

Someone had been in the house. There was the faint sour sensation over the floor leading from the front door, to just outside your bedroom door, to Remi’s door. It didn’t feel like whoever it was had gone in any of the rooms, since the sour trail brushed against Remi’s door and lead back out the front door.

“_____?” Sans asked cautiously from the doorway to your room, he was still wrapped in the blanket, but you could see he’d put his clothes back on at some point.

You grit your teeth, if the king wasn’t likely to show up in the next half an hour or so you would probably take Sans out right now and buy all new locks for every door and window in the house before installing them. As it was, not only was the king of monsters showing up, but so was Papyrus.

“Forgot I could use magic,” You gave him a bright smile, “Everything is all clear now.”

“oh good,” Sans came padding out, “how long have you been gone?”

“Not as long as I meant to be,” You admitted sheepishly, “I asked BP to come over to pick up the stuff I usually get him for monsters and he’s apparently been asked to bring a couple of extra people along.”

“Who?” Sans asked worriedly.

“Just the King and the Captain of the Guard?” You smiled apologetically, “Sorry Sans, I expected to have a lot more time, and I wasn’t expecting BP to have to bring extra people-”

“did you say the captain of the guard?” Sans asked softly, eyes on your face, worried.

“I… yeah, that’s what BP told me. Do you not like the Captain of the Guard?” You asked worriedly, “I’m sorry i should have asked you before I said it was okay for BP to bring them over…”

“it’s okay, i’ve never had an issue with undyne before but… well i’ll… i’ll be here for you the whole time.” Sans assured you, looking worried.

“Thank you?” You frowned slightly, “Are you sure you’re okay with this?”

“yeah... fine,” Sans still looked worried as he stepped back into the bedroom, “i’ll, uh, get ready i guess.”

“I’m going to pick up the kitchen and the front room,” You rubbed your forehead, “I should have grabbed some juice or something at the store.”

“if you have tea, that’ll work.” Sans advised, walking out with his bag, “Asgore’s big on tea.”

“He is?” You asked curiously, “How do you know?”

“everyone knew asgore a little bit in the underground, he’d go around to schools and stuff to try to meet with as many people as he could, to give them hope. i met him a couple of times while paps was in school.” Sans pulled you down for a kiss before stepping into the bathroom and closing the door.

You watched the door for a moment, your worries falling away for a moment as a soft smile crossed your face. You took a moment to steady yourself and slipped into the bedroom instead of your original destination. You gathered Sans’s dirty clothes up from the various places they’d been tossed, both by you and him, and took them into the utility closet. You prepared the washer for a small load, but didn't turn it on, leaving it ready to go as you moved on into the kitchen and started putting your dishes away from the dishwasher where you’d loaded them the other night. As you did so you grabbed several mugs that matched each other pretty well and set them far to the side, then you made quick work of reloading the dishwasher, using cold water to rinse everything off, and wiping the kitchen down.

You washed your hands when you heard the shower turn off, and briefly glanced over consideringly. You wouldn't be able to put together a decent meal, but you weren’t going to let Sans go without eating until after everyone left and…

Well, if you ended up dead at the end of this it would probably be best if Sans had already eaten something.

You gathered together ingredients for a sandwich and frowned slightly, Toriel had said that she thought your magic would be particularly helpful to Sans…

A thought occurred to you, and you grabbed the honey you’d bought yesterday out of the cupboard of tea things. It was a decent size quart jar from a local hive, and after you made the sandwich and filled it with magic, you dumped as much as you could into the honey.

Oddly, it held a lot more than you thought. The other items you’d filled with magic had, had a limit. The honey just kept taking until you stopped with just enough to keep you from getting light headed.

“you’re using a lot of magic there,” Sans said from the archway between the kitchen and the hallway, “everything okay?”

“I made you a sandwich,” You offered him the plate with a smile, “And I realized I left without making you something for breakfast this morning, so I filled this honey with magic in case I’m not around and you need something.”

Sans glanced from you to the honey, “oh, uh, thanks. just... be careful with honey, okay? it becomes a magical food really easy, but it keeps taking magic after that.”

“Like a black hole?” You asked curiously.

“eh, sort of. it’ll definitely just take any magic you put in it,” Sans shrugged, “it keeps the magic, but it’s rare you take a hit that will require more magic that a normal bit of monster food won’t heal.”

“Is it a bad thing?” You glanced at the honey again, “It won’t hurt you right?”

Sans shook his head, “nah, it’d just be… like… an excess of magic. i don’t really have anything to use it on normally so it might make me hyperactive or something. right now it’d just make me… want to use a lot of magic, heh.”

“Huh,” You mused, “Fascinating.”

Sans accepted the sandwich from you, and you took the opportunity to steal a quick kiss, and then you stepped out into the hall to set the washer going, and pick up the living room. It was mostly a few books and movies out of place, but there was dust on your bookshelves and when you saw it all you were reminded of your morbid thoughts from earlier.

You popped into the utility closet, found some cleaning wipes, and quickly dusted everywhere in the front room, silently pledging to yourself that you’d go over Remi’s room in the near future.

If you survived the meeting with Asgore.

You went back into the kitchen and, under Sans’s amused watch, you searched through the cupboards for the tea kettle. You finally found it wedged in a stockpot, and washed it out before filling it with water and putting it on the stove. You crawled onto the counter and started going through your tea cupboard for the infusers, and checking your different teas.

“what are you doing?” Sans asked, rinsing his plate off and looking up at you, crouched on the counter as you considered several different bags.

“I… I have a lot of teas up here,” You admitted, “I like tea, too…”

Sans held out a hand and you passed him each of the bags one at a time.

“this one,” Sans handed you back one bag, “smells like golden flower tea almost, he’ll like it.”

You allowed yourself the briefest moment of curiosity over how Sans could smell, before you accepted the tea and put the others away. The label on the side proclaimed it Youthberry, and it definitely smelled good as you loaded it into several infusers and placed them into the mugs.

“how many people did you say were coming?” Sans asked curiously, looking at the mugs.

You glanced over, you’d made up six mugs. You were saved from having to answer by a polite knock on the front door. Your surprise was safe until you opened that door.

“They’re here!” You grinned at Sans in lieu of answering and he followed you to the door. You almost opened the door, but then remembered finding it unlocked and hesitated, sensing outside the door with the remains of your magic.

Four different source of magic were outside your door, one of which felt a great deal like Sans. You idly committed the other three sources of magic to memory and opened the door.

“Hi! I’m _____, come in won’t you?”

You stepped to the side and looked straight at Sans.

He looked confused for all of a moment before an orange colored bullet hit him.

“SANS! I’VE BEEN SO WORRIED! YOU DIDN’T ANSWER ANY OF MY CALLS! I WAS SO RELIEVED WHEN OUR FRIEND BURGERPANTS SAID THAT HIS HUMAN FRIEND HAD FOUND YOU!”

Papyrus was wearing an orange hoodie and a pair of denim shorts, but the battle body you knew from Sans’s memory was clearly visible under it if you looked just right.

“p-paps?” Sans’s voice wavered and you felt a warmth in your chest as the biggest grin you’d seen yet stretched across Sans’s face, “papyrus!”

“YOU CAN’T EVER WORRY ME LIKE THAT AGAIN, SANS!” Papyrus scolded.

“Undyne?” BP’s voice sounded to your right and you looked back in apology.

“Sorry, Sans’s has been really worried about Papyrus and I wanted to see, well…” You trailed off slightly as you got a good look at the people out your door.

You had been expecting Asgore, you’d seen him on the news a few times, and meeting Toriel had given you an idea that the humans the monster stood next to on the television weren’t just exceptionally short.

You’d obviously been expecting BP, his worried eyes lead you to the third monster standing in your doorway.

You hadn’t been expecting Her.

From the widening in Her eyes, She recognized you, too. You didn’t think you had been expecting that.

She was dressed almost casually in a leather jacket and jeans, but you would recognize Her anywhere. You’d seen Her in your nightmares often enough.

“Howdy, you’re _____ right? I apologize for the suddenness of this visit...”

You dimly registered Asgore, trailing off as neither you, nor She moved.

“Come in,” You voice said distantly, beckoning them in. Your eyes never left Hers, “It’s… I… I have tea. I was making. I’ll-I’ll be right-make yourself at home.”

You turned and walked stiffly towards the kitchen, faintly registering Sans’s concerned look from Papyrus’s arms. You didn’t try to offer him a smile, you just needed to step away.

You needed to calm your racing heartbeat. You needed to breath, just for a moment. You just needed a moment.

Undyne. Undyne the Captain of the Guard. Undyne the Hope of Monsterkind. Undyne the Undying.

Undyne who had killed your sister. Who had knelt across from you as Remi said her last words.

Undyne, who was now standing awkwardly in the archway between your kitchen and your living room, with the shocked look of someone who’d seen a ghost.

Chapter Text

Part of you, and not a small part either, wanted nothing more than to ignore Undyne. It was one thing to say you wouldn’t hate Undyne when you had no idea where she was in the world, or what she was doing. It was a lot harder when she was standing just outside your kitchen, where Remi could never stand again.

“Don’t hover,” You said finally, when Undyne continued watching you, “Come in or go sit on the couch, you’ll worry Sans and I’d like him to be able to focus on Papyrus for a little bit.”

Silently Undyne walked in and stood just as awkwardly under the light.

You nails bit into your palms, “You can take a seat,” You said evenly, despite how your head was whirling. You took the water off the heat just as the thermometer on the side showed the right brewing temperature for the Youthberry tea, and set to filling the mugs. You heard Undyne pull a chair out and slowly take a seat.

As though they had been waiting on that action, the silence in the living room turned to the low murmur of conversation.

“I’m sorry.”

You flinched and a bit of water splashed on your hand, leaving a red splotch, though you barely felt it.

“I never thought I’d see you again, but… I told myself if I did, I would tell you sorry. I… I’ve really come to appreciate what kind of human your friend was.”

“My sister,” You corrected quietly, “She was my sister.”

“Your sister.” If it was possible, Undyne’s voice got even quieter.

You reached up in the cupboard and drew out a small container of sugar, “I… I don’t know what to say to you. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of what I would say to you, good things and bad but… but Remi wouldn't have appreciated me saying any of the bad things, and I find I’m not ready to say any of the good things.” You turned around and met her eyes.

She looked tired. You wondered if Remi’s death haunted her at night, too.

If you had to guess, you’d say yes.

You pursed her lips and walked over to her. She straightened her back and sat stock still, like she expected you to hit her. You placed one hand on her shoulder and looked her straight in the eye.

“Stop.”

Undyne frowned, clearly having expected a variety of different reactions, but not this one.

“You… You were the hope of your people, Undyne. Don’t hate yourself, because she wouldn't have hated you, she didn't hate you.” You told her firmly, “I don’t hate you, i don’t particularly like you right now, but I don’t hate you because she asked me not to, and she didn't hate you. So stop hating yourself.”

“You make it sound so easy,” Undyne said softly, “Out of all the humans that died in the Underwar, I just happened to murder a good one, right in front of their older sibling.”

You nodded stiffly, “Yeah, you did, and I’ll never forget it, but… I don’t hate you for it, and given the chance I may one day forgive you for it.”

Undyne closed her eyes, “You’re a really weird human.”

“.. yeah, but I kind of like being weird. Would you help me bring the tea into the front room?” You said after another moment of silently collecting yourself.

“Yeah, sure.” Undyne helped you gather the cups, three apiece,  and you took a very deep breath and steadied your expression before walking into the living room with her.

“Sorry about that! Hello King Asgore, Papyrus, I’m _____, I hope you like tea.” You smiled at them.

Asgore had sat in on the couch, making it look very small, and Undyne went to him and placed one of the mugs of tea in front of him, the second she put on the coffee table close to where the skeleton brothers had squeezed into the chair together. BP stood awkwardly at the other end of the coffee table, and you placed the tea down before heading back to the kitchen to retrieve a chair for him.

Your guests all seated and with a mug of tea in front of them you went to stand next to the armchair and finally let yourself look Papyrus in the eye.

“Hello,” You murmured softly. Both Papyrus and Sans looked like they were going to burst from happiness.

“HUMAN!” You got the idea that only Sans being squished into his side was keeping Papyrus from jumping up and giving you a welcome similar to the one he’d given Sans, “THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR RESCUING MY BROTHER FROM THE DIRE SITUATION HE FOUND HIMSELF IN! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, GREATLY APPRECIATE IT AND I WILL NOT FORGET IT SOON NYEHEHEH!”

“It was no problem Papyrus,” You assured him, and the odd cold feeling in your chest that the sight of Undyne had inspired started to fade in the face of Papyrus’s enthusiasm.

“NYEHEH! I AM INCREDIBLY HAPPY THAT YOU WILL BE ENTERING MY FAMILY HUMAN!” This declaration seemed to stretch Papyrus’s limits and he wriggled out from next to Sans and seized you, hauling you into the air.

“paps,” Sans said softly, “they’re human, they don’t have to-”

Out of the corner of your eye you noticed that Asgore had grown tense and was shooting a thoughtful, worried look at Sans.

“I would be honored to be part of your family, Papyrus,” You told him sincerely, “I love Sans very much, and I would love to be your friend as well.”

Sans beamed at you shyly, and Asgore shifted uncomfortably, eyeing Sans and shooting a look at you from the corner of his eyes. Looking at your chest.

Or, more likely, your soul.

You waited for a bit while everyone sipped at their tea, and Papyrus largely dominated the conversation, before offering Asgore, Undyne, and BP a pointed smile, “Would you three like to see my garden? It’s small, but I do have a nice rose bush blooming right now.”

“Yes, please, it has been a long time since i have been able to just appreciate a garden,” Asgore stood suddenly.

Sans raised a brow bone at you and you gave him an easy smile, “You should spend some time with Papyrus,” You urged gently.

Sans nodded and Papyrus beamed at the both of you.

Sedately you lead the other three monsters through your kitchen, out the kitchen door to the backyard, and into the sunshine. BP and Undyne hung back closer to the house, but watched as you lead Asgore over to the prominent white rose bush.

“You are a very good gardener,” Asgore said gently, reaching out and touching one delicate rose bud with a claw tipped finger.

“It’s nice to grow something just because it’s pretty sometimes.” You nodded, you could tell that Asgore would get to what he wanted, what he needed to say, in his own time.

“Yes, it is. In the Underground I grew a field of golden flowers in my throne room. Gardening for the sake of seeing something pretty is a calming pastime.” Asgore agreed.

You stood with him in silence for a moment, looking at the rose bush, and waited.

“Do you not agree that is a plant that could cause great harm to your garden, should be removed before the damage can begin?” Asgore asked gently.

“Sir,” You chewed on your bottom lip, “Forgive me for speaking frankly, but if you try to kill me I’m probably going to fight back.”

Asgore watched you from the corner of his eye and you heard BP say “Kill them?” in an offended tone behind you.

“I care very much for Sans, and as much as I would like to be the self sacrificing sort that lets themselves die because of the trouble they know that could be caused because of them, I’m more of the selfish sort who would have to destroy the world because it made Sans upset.” You shrugged.

Rather than annoyed, or worried, Asgore looked thoughtful.

“Do you mean that? Would you really destroy the world because you claim to love Sans, love a monster, so much?” He prodded gently.

You didn’t answer immediately, but pulled a fully opened rose close to you and inhaled it’s warm spring scent. You remembered Sans crying out, tears running down his face, as you pulled duct tape off of his mouth. You thought of his utter certainty, the moment that he saw your soul, that you were a safe place for him. You imagined, just for a moment, leaving Sans alone.

“I love him,” You said finally, “I love him so much that I would die for him, but I also love him so much that I will fight for him.”

“Asgore Dreemurr!”

The angry voice was not one that you’d been expecting, and you turned to see Toriel standing in the doorway to your kitchen, fireballs flickering in and out of reality around her.

“Oh no,” Undyne said quietly, grabbing BP and pulling the cat monster away from the door.

“Tori, I-”

“Do not ‘Tori’ me, Dreemurr! I told you exactly why I unlocked this child’s potential, and I know that you came here today with every intention of killing them!”

The saying went ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’, but you personally thought that ‘Hell hath no fury like a mother crossed’ fit the bill a bit better as you watched the giant goat monster who had been discussing your death with you moments before shrink into himself.

“You did not listen to me when our children died, and look what happened,” Toriel took one threatening step into the garden, “You did not listen to me when I told you not to go to war with humans, and look what happened,” Another step, “Will you try and ignore me again? Will you be three times the fool Asgore Dreemurr and kill another human, and the monster they love in the same breath?” Toriel had very long legs, and with your greenhouse, small though it was, taking up most of the backyard save your rose bush and small row of strawberry bushes, she was standing over you both, fury in her eyes, “And do not try to tell me that you do not see the soul he carries, how it has been shaped?”

You stepped slightly in front of Asgore to protect him from a tiny bit of Toriel’s wrath, “I’m sorry can you elaborate on that? What’s wrong with Sans’s soul?” You felt a your heart pick up with a tiny bit of panic.

Toriel faltered, “I… I am sorry, my child, I spoke with haste. There is nothing wrong with Sans’s soul.”

“What did that mean then?” You glanced up at Asgore, who was watching you with a frown.

“Tori, has he not…?” Asgore asked softly.

“It is not your concern, nor is it mine.” Tori said firmly.

“Toriel,” Asgore’s voice was reproachful, “You are not a child, you know what this means, the steps that have to be taken…”

“I have taken care of it Asgore, and it is up to Sans to do more.” Toriel said shortly.

You looked between them, and then at Undyne and BP.

No one met your eyes.

“Fine then,” You said calmly, “I’ll go ask Sans.”

A large furry paw settled on your shoulder and you tensed.

“Toriel,” You said quietly.

“Will you linger in the garden a moment more? I will go and speak with Sans, and then we will all speak of… of what you were not told.” Toriel said gently.

Part of you wanted to run, it wanted you to run into the living room and grab Sans and never stop running until you were fully convinced that he was okay, part of you wanted to yell for Sans, it wanted you to demand an explanation and not back down until he gave it, but you firmly tamped those parts of you down and dropped your head, fighting until you were certain you were in control of your actions.

“I’ll be in the greenhouse,” You gestured to it, “BP, don’t leave until I’ve given you that Anime and those pills… Toriel, since you’re here anyway you might as well think if you need anything for Frisk.”

Without giving them a chance to respond you turned and walked quickly into the greenhouse, closing the door as delicately as you could manage so you didn’t send the older building crashing to the ground.

“-do not try to tell me that you do not see the soul he carries-”

You shook your head and moved down the row of green plants, their leaves trailing against your skin in a silent reminder that they needed to be harvested.

You ignored your thoughts as you went systematically through jars, adding and taking items away as necessary. When there were no more jars to go through, you started trimming and setting the plants to dry. At one point you heard the faintest sound of what might have been raised voices and you stopped your mindless work to send Danny a long text message about how you were sorry you’d not sent him any messages, and asking nicely if he could drop by on Saturday to make a few deliveries. You got a positive response from him and opened up your e-mail to see how much you’d be baking.

At no point did you let yourself linger on Toriel and Asgore’s words. At no point did you give in to the panic that had started gnawing on the edge of your mind and was now making your fingers clumsy.

A tentative knock sounded on the greenhouse door and your phone dropped from your fingers. You stared at it numbly for a long moment, then slowly picked it up and opened the door.

BP looked shaken.

“Hey Buddy, they, uh, they’re ready for you inside.” He said slowly.

“BP?” You said quietly.

“Yeah buddy?”

“You’re my friend, right?” You met his slit eyes slowly. BP’s expression eased slightly.

“I’d like to think so, yeah.”

You nodded slowly, “Thanks BP.”

You closed the greenhouse door carefully and walked through the kitchen door with your head back and your shoulders straight.

Asgore, Undyne, and Sans waited for you in the living room.

“toriel is having a talk with papyrus in the bedroom, is that alright?” Sans asked softly, only barely meeting your eyes.

“Yeah, of course it’s…” Your throat closed for a moment, “It’s fine, I…”

Asgore was sitting in the chair Papyrus and Sans had been piled in. Undyne stood to his immediate right, looking like the Commander she had been, despite her casual clothes, and Sans was alone on the couch. You sat next to him and carefully tugged one of his hands out of the knot he had tangled them in.

“I love you,” You told him shakily, ignoring your audience for the moment.

“promise? even if i did a bad thing?” Sans asked quietly, squeezing your hand but not meeting your eyes.

“Always.” You promised firmly.

Asgore cleared his throat lightly and you looked up to him. To your surprise, instead of going to sit on the chair you pulled in from the kitchen, BP was standing on your free side, arms crossed as he watched Asgore.

Whatever was happening, BP was on your side at least.

“It has been decided,” Asgore said slowly in a tone of voice that suggested that Toriel had told him what to do, “That I would begin this explanation with information both of you are missing.”

Sans squeezed your hand again.

“It begins in the past, before the barrier was ever raised,” Asgore did not look at any of you, but his eyes went distant as though he could see the past as he spoke, “For the most part, humanity and monsters lived side by side in harmony. There could be disputes, but monsters didn’t seek conflict and the humans were often so busy fighting each other they paid monsters no mind. The years passed, and some among the monsters noticed that there were those among the humans whose souls held the potential for magic. It was after much debate that these humans were brought in by monsters, and their abilities were unlocked. Human mages were… terrifying. Not just for what they did, but how they did it.”

Out of the corner of your eye, you could see Sans slowly making a tight fist that shook with nervous energy. Without a word you brought that hand over and folded it into your hands with his other hand so that he wouldn't hurt himself. Asgore’s eyes cleared a bit of the memories of the past as he watched you, but his expression remained solemn.

“Human mages,” He continued, “Could increase their magical potential to areas beyond what monsters chose to explore, their thirst for knowledge was very difficult to quench, and when they cast a spell they could choose to use their own energy, or the energy of every human soul in the immediate area.”

You stopped breathing.

“Most did not take this too far, and would only borrow a touch of energy if the spell was beyond them.” Asgore glanced at your expression, “The real trouble arose… The real trouble arose with the children. Not all humans could use magic, and because monster children are creatures of magic and soul, a human and a monster could never produce a child. Mages and monsters, it turned out, could have children together.”

Undyne placed a hand on Asgore’s shoulder, and he seemed to hunch into himself at the mention of children.

“A monster child requires the magic and love of both of their parents during the maturation of the soul into a monster, with monster parents this is very, very rarely an issue and usually results in the immature soul simply disappearing if there is not enough magic or love. With the mages who managed to form a new soul with a monster, some provided the love and magic the maturing soul needed… some did not. The human half of the soul was too strong to simply disappear in the cases that did not get the love and magic they needed. The souls… twisted. They took all the magic of their monster parent, and left them dust upon birth. These children could not feel love, and they struggled with kindness… a dark time swept over both species, as monsters and humans alike could not bring themselves to leave helpless infants alone, despite these children already being tainted by a level of violence at birth. They could call on not just the energy of human and monster souls around them, but the very life energy of the world itself. They made deserts out of paradises, lands of ice where once the sun had flourished. Though there were not many, there were enough. It took a long time, and a lot of fighting, to finally stop the darkness these children spread… and when the dust settled, and the blood stopped flowing, Seven mages gathered together to discuss how to end these children once and for all.”

“The barrier,” You knew where this was going, you weren’t an idiot but you couldn't bring yourself to address the elephant in the room.

“The barrier. Without monsters, there could be no mages. Without monsters and mages, the world would be safe from these dark children.” Asgore agreed.

“What about the good ones? The ones whose mage parents loved them?” You asked lowly. Sans’s hand tightened hard in yours.

“The good ones…” Asgore sighed, “Are… a difficult story as well, though for a different reason. A human soul, any human soul, can heal itself given time. Cracks heal, holes fill… but each mage that fathered a child upon a monster had a piece of their soul taken, and in giving their magic and their love, they were unable to ever heal that hole. They could call on the same powers their dark brothers could, they could call on the energy of humans, monsters, and the earth, but they were so filled with the love of two races that where their darker halves used the energy to kill, to destroy... they used their magic to heal and create. Music, art, books, there was no limit to what a halfling born of love could create, could heal… So, naturally, they were slaughtered. From the parents that brought them into the world, to the youngest baby, they were systematically wiped out during the war that sprung up between monsters and humans after the dark children were wiped out. We fled, wounded, hurting, and grieving into a temporary safe place… and it became our prison. The seven mages called on each other's powers and became almost one entity… and then they put everything, their magic and souls, into a barrier that a human could cross, but a monster could not.”

Silence fell.

It was a heavy silence, and you’d be hard pressed to decide who was contributed most of the weight: Sans, Asgore, or you.

“Will you go out into the garden with me Sans?” You asked quietly, “It’s a nice day, and you haven’t been out at all…”

Sans didn’t respond, but stood slowly, hands falling out of yours limply. He held onto his elbows and didn’t look at you.

You considered him for a long moment, then you picked him up the exact same way you had on the day you’d taken him from Robbie and carried him out through the kitchen, not looking back at the totally silent Asgore, Undyne, or BP.

You sat down on the slab of cement that was your back porch, warm from the sun, and held Sans close as you waited for him to start talking.

"a little over a week ago i was standing on a street corner doing my job," Sans whispered, his voice quiet against the faint breeze and the occasional sound of someone driving by, "or preparing to do my job, i guess... this guy drove up, said one of his buddies told him about me... told me to get in the car... i did."

"It was Robbie."

"it was." Sans confirmed, shifting slightly, "i... we talked. about things like what i could do, what i would do, and how much-"

"Sans, you don't-"

"it's important. it's part of why." Sans said shortly.

You took a steadying breath and nodded.

"we got to his house and... that lawyer was waiting for us. the lawyer and a couple of his other buddies." Sans's voice had gone flat, disconnected, "they had the contract all written out and ready... robbie said he'd been watching me for awhile, he'd followed me at work, he'd followed me home, he'd seen where i lived, seen my friends... seen papyrus. he said... said i reminded him of someone he wanted to hurt, someone he couldn't touch, so i could sign the contract and accept being the stand in, or he'd dust everyone i loved."

You didn't move. If you moved you were going to be out of the house and hunting Robbie down before Sans could finish what he was trying to say.

"i read the contract, i knew the terms, and robbie told me that there were others who would move if he died... i signed the contract. i couldn’t do anything else. and he looked at me and told me i wasn’t ever allowed to see my little brother again, or we’d both die."

"Sans-" You said raggedly.

"don't stop me, please," Sans's voice cracked, "if you stop me i don't know that i'll be able to start again and i need to tell you why."

"Okay," You relented, closing your eyes and holding him tight.

"there were four of them. sometimes they took turns, sometimes they didn't." Sans voice started rough, but quickly evened back out to the flat distant tone, "their souls were... cold. dark. they hated me, all of them. they were all doing it because they hated me and wanted me to suffer, and i could see it...  i wasn't ever going to see papyrus again... i knew that i wasn't going to survive the five years i was contracted for, i wasn’t supposed to survive... then they gave me the ecstasy and i wanted... i wanted them to touch me. as much as i hated them, and i hated what they were doing, i... i needed them, needed them to touch me and they laughed. robbie got what he wanted, i went from one pain to another and all i could think was that i was going to die at the hands of someone who couldn't have the decency to hate me, just someone else that i reminded him of."

Your hands were shaking, and no matter how tightly you held Sans you couldn't get them to stop. If Sans didn’t need you there, if he wouldn’t your leaving as a sign of rejection, you would hunt Robbie down on foot and teach him the real meaning of pain.

"then the bar," Sans glanced up at you, and you looked down to meet his eyes, "you saw it, didn’t you? when you touched my soul? you were so soft… you picked me up, and tried to comfort me… and you said papyrus, you told me i’d see my baby brother again. you were drunk outta your mind, and i could barely think… and your soul… it was the brightest thing i’d seen in days of darkness… it was like seeing the stars for the first time again… i could hear you all the next day, too. Warning burger-bp, warning bp about the ecstasy asking about-about ways to help me… i… i couldn’t figure out how a soul like yours could exist, how someone like you could exist _____. i was… i was too blinded, i couldn’t focus enough to see you were a latent mage…” Sans closed his eyes and pressed against you again.

“What did you do, Sans?” You asked softly, evenly.

“i stole a piece of your soul,” The tone of Sans’s voice made you ache, “i didn’t… i didn’t realize what i’d done. i just wanted to keep a part of you when this was all over… i thought you would heal.”

“Did… Toriel knew. The first moment she saw me.” You realized.

“she could see the missing piece, they all can,” Sans confirmed, “you’ll never meet a monster that doesn’t see it until it heals.”

You felt dizzy all of a sudden, because Asgore had said that the mages that stayed with their children never healed and Sans had just implied not just that you would leave but that you would  leave him to die.

“That’s fine. I don’t mind monsters seeing it then.” You said shortly, “I don’t want it to heal.”

You didn’t even realize how tense Sans was until he slumped, pardon the pun, bonelessly against you.

“Did you really think I’d leave?” You whispered.

“i’d deserve it.” Sans said, voice muffled as he turned his face into your shirt, “i stole an actual piece of you. i fragmented the most sacred part of you and i had no intention of telling you.”

“I can deal with that, I’m probably in shock right now, but I’ll deal with it. I’ll… well, give me just a little bit to come to terms with the prospect of becoming a parent so suddenly… but Sans, the only thing I’ll never forgive you for is dying without giving me a chance to save you, okay?” You were certain that to an outsider it would be difficult to figure out where you ended, and where Sans began you were holding each other so tightly, “Give me a chance to fix it, give me a chance to save you, don’t you ever tell me you’re planning on dying again.”

“i’ll give you a chance to save me, if you promise not to leave,” Sans bargained, “not in death, not for a couple of days, just stay with me.”

“Deal, fuck, deal,” There was too much burning up inside you and you pulled Sans up and kissed him once quickly, then twice more slower when you got a moment to look at the tears staining his face, “I’ll fight for you. You are mine, and I am yours, and someday there’s going to be a little one that is ours. I’ll fight my way out of hell to get back to you, just give me a day to do it.”

“okay,” Sans agreed.

You held Sans and tried to think of the good things. You tried to not think about how every human who believed they were the top of the food chain would be out to kill the both of you without hesitation, you tried not think think about how the only government that would try to protect you was basically a figurehead who was fighting a centimeter at a time for the rights of his species. You tried not to think how far back you were going to set that fight.

“_____,” You’d felt Asgore lingering in the door for the last parts of your conversation with Sans, and as much as it annoyed you for him to hear something that was so personal, it was more important for Sans to know you weren’t going anywhere, “There is one more thing to consider.”

“Yes?”

“As an adult the argument could be made that you can hide your abilities, as someone who has seen these children grow up I know that they cannot hide what they are.” Your back went rigid and you stood very slowly, helping Sans to his feet and then putting him behind you when you faced Asgore, who was watching your movements grimly.

“What are you implying?” You asked slowly.

“With the situation of Monsterkind and Humanity as is, no responsible leader could let someone as powerful and visible as your child will be to exist.” Asgore said softly, “If your leaders seized your child, it would be disaster for all. Mage’s are more driven by their instincts when they have someone they regard as a mate and child to protect, and letting the human governments gain control of either Sans or your future child gives them control of you. I cannot allow them a halfing and a Mage.”

You kept Sans at your back, the dark part of you that had killed to preserve your life and Remi’s in the past demanding that you wipe out this threat to your family, but the logical part of your mind was focused on Asgore’s words in a different way.

“What aren’t you saying?” You demanded, your voice coming out as a growl not unlike a wildcat’s.

Asgore didn’t respond, he simply watched you with the same grim look.

“asgore, i’m not going to stand here and watch them die,” Sans growled behind you, “what you’re suggesting is-is-”

“... with the situation… as is…”

“Killing a child for the good of my people?” Asgore asked softly.

“...Humanity… your leaders… human…”

“yeah, and look at how well that worked for you in the past,” Sans spat, “you did a real great job of freeing us, getting us killed, and then setting society up to enslave us.”

Asgore flinched, and you reached back to set a hand on Sans’s shoulder.

“You could have asked.” You told the King suddenly.

“what?” Sans stepped closer and wrapped his arms around you, you settled one arm around him comfortingly, “he can’t just ask to kill you! you just finished telling me you’d never leave me and-”

You silenced Sans by spinning and kissing him firmly, then turned to Asgore who was observing you consideringly, “Not to kill me, or you, or our baby. He’s been talking about something else entirely.”

Asgore didn’t smile, but the air grew less tense, “And what do you think I should be asking?” He prompted.

Sans looked up at you, the same question in his eyes.

“The danger is in me being the Government's mage,” You met Asgore’s eyes, “You’re asking me to be your mage.”

“And what reason could I have for doing that?” Asgore mused.

“Rebellion, Revolution, whatever you want to call it when an oppressed people rise up against their oppressors.” You couldn’t stop the grin that started to creep across your face, “That’s the answer, the world as it is now will destroy monsters, won’t it?”

“It has already begun, or can you walk down the street with your chosen mate without fear for your life, or his?” Asgore asked gently.

You met his eyes, “So ask me.”

“It will be dangerous, you have the potential to be incredibly strong and I would have no intention of keeping you safely on the back lines. A human mage is an army unto themselves and it would be impractical to teach you to stand back and heal when you could lead the charge.” Asgore warned.

“Ask me, Asgore,” You told him.

Asgore laughed lowly, “Will you be Monsterkind’s Mage? Will you stand in the line of fire for a revolution?”

You smiled down at Sans, who watched you with no small amount of worry, “I said I’d destroy the world for you,” You told him softly, “But, with your permission, I’ll try to fix it instead.”

“you need my permission for that?” Sans asked softly.

“I love you, so I’m not going to make any big decisions without getting your input at least.” You told him.

Sans tightened his grip on you, and sighed, “remember you promised you wouldn’t leave me,” He said softly.

Asgore watched you, “Think this through,” He cautioned gently, “You will be called a traitor, every member of your race will know that you chose monsters over them.”

You turned your face to the sun and closed your eyes. You thought of Quin, and almost smiled at what you knew her reaction would be. She would be behind you, whatever your decision. You thought of the first time you’d ever seen BP, standing in an alley next to a pharmacy swearing up a blue storm because they’d kicked him out for being a monster.

You thought of Remi.

“Good.” You said flatly, “Let them all know. The ones that matter won’t care, and the ones that care don’t matter. I’ll be your Mage, Asgore. Teach me what I need to know to stand on the front lines of Revolution.”

Chapter Text

The first time he had ever killed someone had been in the fight against the dark children. He had been barely more than a child himself, but he would never forget the look in the boy’s eyes as he looked from Asgore’s trident, to Asgore himself. He would never forget the instant guilt that welled in him, or the feeling of blood covering his paws.

He would also never forget being stabbed in the back from behind because he let his guard down.

His best friend at the time, a green mage with an affinity for healing (Green mages almost either had a high affinity for healing, or fighting, and though he wouldn't be on the surface when the phrase ‘kill them with kindness’ came around, it would never fail to make him laugh when he finally returned to the surface, because he knew how dangerous kindness could be) had saved his life and given him some peace of mind regarding the killing.

“Asgore, what would they be doing if we weren’t fighting them? If we weren’t killing them?” The green mage had asked. (To his eternal shame he had forgotten her name after two hundred years in the Underground. It had happened slowly, simply not having reason to think about her, until one day he did think about her and he realized that he’d lost her. Her name, the color of her eyes, the sound of her laugh… but he’d never lost what she’d given him.)

Asgore had looked around the desert that had been a beautiful forest not that long ago, “This?” He’d asked tentatively, “They’d be doing this everywhere?”

She had nodded, as solemn as the grave, “They would. We are doing something terrible, taking the life of another person, in order to preserve the future. There can be no forgiveness for our sins, only acceptance, and in that acceptance we are saving so many others from a terrible fate.”

Asgore had accepted his sins against the dark children, who could not help the nature they had been born to. Years later he had accepted his truly terrible sins in murdering innocent children, whose only crime had been leaving The Ruins behind.

When Asgore had received a message from Toriel stated she had unlocked the potential of a Mage (and she was only alerting him so that he did not have a heart attack when he visited Ebott City next and for stars sake she has things well in hand do not come back and do anything rash ) He had accepted that he would have to kill again, to prevent the dark children from re-emerging, and to stop the governments of humanity from gaining access to a mage.

He had confronted Burgerpants about meeting you, and had followed the cat monster to your home knowing there could only be two ways for the day to end. Either you would be dead at his hands, or he would be dead at yours. All the work he had put into his revolution would be for nothing, and in all likelihood this would be the final doom for Monsterkind’s freedom if he died, and if you died he would have also effectively murdered a well liked monster who was the brother of the monster his daugher-in-all-but-name called her best friend.

Until you opened your front door, and he saw the look on your face when Papyrus greeted his brother. The look and sound of your soul as you watched the skeleton brothers, and Sans in particular.

Until he saw the glowing glimmer of the brand new soul situated below Sans’s own, alight with magic and love.

Then, the faintest hope of a potential third option emerged.

He watched you calculatingly while you dealt with Undyne, which he would have to ask about later, he evaluated your soul as you lead them outside, and he tested your reactions to the threat of death.

He was pleased by what he saw, and even more pleased when you named your reason for fighting to be Sans.

He was less pleased when he found out that Toriel and Sans had kept from you the existence of the half monster half human child Sans carried. He could almost understand their reasoning, Toriel had been a healer during the fighting and not a front line one like his green mage friend (She had only started fighting when the humans slaughtered the pure halfling children and started the war that eventually locked them below the ground), and Sans had likely only ever heard of the dark children in library books, or in old stories from monsters like Gerson (or maybe from a tall skeletal figure with holes in his hands? The thought made Asgore's head hurt) but he would not stand for your continued ignorance.

So he let Toriel rage and threaten him for ignoring her request to let her handle it, and he watched Sans shrink farther and farther in on himself as more and more information on the dark children was revealed as Toriel raged and Asgore responded.

Asgore felt his sins crawling down his back as he informed the short skeleton that your soul would never heal the piece he took as long as you loved his child and offered your magic. He bore the glare Toriel shot at him, and instead focused on the silent support of Undyne, and curiously the optimism of Papyrus.

(There was always a question in Asgore’s mind of how much Papyrus actually knew. For such a seemingly innocent skeleton, he always seemed to have just a little bit more faith in everyone than anyone else did.)

Asgore’s hope that this day would end with a new ally instead of bloodshed strengthened when, during the story of the dark children, your first instinct had been to comfort Sans and draw him closer to you. He had been given even more hope when your soul had, independent of your conscious self, he knew as he watched your face, extended what magic it could spare to both Sans and the tiny soul he carried.

(You would fight him. You had said you would fight to live, fight him for Sans, and your magic was nearly exhausted already.)

Asgore knew you had taken Sans into the garden to have a private moment with him, but unfortunately he could not allow that. He could not afford to miss a word of your conversation when it meant the difference between killing you and allying with you.

He let you sense him, finally, and then confronted you. Threatening, prodding, leading, he could not tell you what he was doing outright. To say it out loud, to suggest it, was a bad idea. He knew that if you came to the same conclusions he had, you would be more loyal and more able to handle what was coming.

Even so, your response surprised him a bit, and including Sans in your decision raised his hope that this could succeed.

“If we are to keep this a secret, we cannot give anything away too soon,” Asgore cautioned you gently, “I cannot spend too much time here or suspicion will be drawn to you. I will have two monsters who are well trained in magic set themselves up to have regular contact with you.”

“How long do I have?” You asked and Asgore watched the worry flash in Sans’s eyes.

“In three weeks time monsters, including those under contract, will begin a mass exodus back to Mt. Ebott, Dr. Alphys has found an illness that can pass from monster to human, but where it is like a simple cold for monsters it can be fatal to humans,” Asgore met your eyes, “Dr. Alphys has created a vaccine that will prevent monsters from developing this illness, but due to the nature of magic she will have to administer the vaccine herself and all at once or risk infecting humans.”

“And so you get all the monsters safely gathered before anything starts,” You nodded, “So I have three weeks to be ready…” You paused and glanced at Sans, “Sans and I will have to go, too, probably last…”

“We will be gathering the monsters in Ebott City first,” Asgore said gently, “And you will not be able to follow. It will not hurt your child to be apart from you for a short time, as long as Sans has regular access to your magic.”

Your arm tightened around Sans, and his tightened around you. Asgore was filled with hope the obvious affection between you two, but a small part of him could not help but be saddened by the sight of two beings who loved each other beginning a bond, when he would never feel that connection with Toriel again.

“We would not separate you without cause,” Asgore promised, “As someone listed as holding a contract, there will be some mild scrutiny on you… and there is the matter of Frisk…”

“frisk?” Sans asked in concern, “what’s wrong with them? tori said they were getting better…?”

“As far as I am aware, Frisk is doing much better and quite eager to be out and about again,” Asgore assured him, “But Frisk is a known human who lives with monsters. If Frisk stays with Toriel while we are bringing monsters in to receive a vaccination, it will raise suspicion, and we could be found out, or Frisk could be taken from Toriel before we are ready to move.”

“So you want me to keep Frisk safe in the… the few days it will take to gather the monsters?” You asked, glancing between Asgore and Sans.

“We project it will take at least a week to gather everyone, and three days on top of that to get them to the safe place we have set up,” Asgore told you.

“A week and a half,” You sounded odd and Asgore kept one eye on your soul as you considered what he was saying.

Mages who had not yet been entirely changed by their magic tended to become almost feral at times. Asgore would be much more comfortable with your existence when your magic finished changing your biological makeup to suite itself better. Vaguely he wondered if Toriel had told you about the changes you would be undergoing. He was fairly certain she would as Sans was too young to know about how a Mage’s body changed once their magic became unlocked.

“Yes, but with a regular supply of your magic Sans and your child will be fine for up to a month before issues could develop,” Asgore assured you, “And it will not take that much time.”

Sans whispered something to you, and Asgore made a point of not listening. He had taken a private moment from you before, he would allow you this.

“We’ll talk about it later,” You promised softly and set your shoulders before returning your attention to Asgore, “I… We… Toriel knows, right? She’s aware of everything you’ve begun? Because I would like to at least meet Frisk, I can’t imagine Toriel would be happy leaving Frisk with me when they’ve never met me.”

“Toriel knows some,” Asgore assured you, with communications as monitored between them as it was, it had been very hard to tell Toriel everything in the coded way they exchanged messages, “She knows she will have to be separated from Frisk for a time.”

“Okay,” You closed your eyes for a moment and Asgore smiled slightly when Sans’s magic instinctively reached to ground you.

Asgore could see the chemicals that caused the unnatural heat running through Sans’s magic, but he could also make out bits and pieces of your magic, what wasn’t concentrating on the tiny soul, seeking the chemical out and burning through it. Seeing Sans’s magic reacting to you, even when he had no control over it, was encouraging.

“I do have two requests,” You met Asgore’s eyes again and he resisted the urge to shift. Your expression reminded him of someone else in that moment.

“I will hear them,” He agreed, trying to place that expression.

“First, there’s a human… She’s my best friend, and if we leave her behind I can almost guarantee she’d be used against me… and I can’t put her in danger,” It was Toriel’s expression. The exact same expression she’d worn when she’d been trying to keep him from declaring war on humanity so many years ago when Chara and Asriel…

“It would, of course, depend on her.” Asgore’s voice was a lot steadier than he felt. Sans’s cold words from earlier and now your expression bringing memories he kept locked away a lot closer to the surface than he’d prefer, “You would not be able to tell her until you left, just in case, and you would have to be sure she’d choose you over her own race.”

“She would.” Your conviction shone in your soul, “She’s my best friend and she… well, she doesn’t have a whole lot to tether her to the human world anymore.”

Asgore considered, “I… will consider it. Unless she proves to be a danger to monsters, or a security risk, then I will give you a hesitant yes. Your other request?”

You glanced at Sans, “A book? Or… or the phone number of someone with experience in monster pregnancies? I want to make sure I’m doing everything right…”

Asgore considered for a long moment. Generally monsters replied on their magic to guide them safely through a pregnancy, but with Sans’s magic currently compromised and  your own magic not quite settled…

“There are no books, unfortunately, but… You can write any questions you may have down in a note, which you can pass to one of the monsters I will have training you. May I see your cell phone?” Asgore met your eyes, and you pulled your phone out and held it out to him without hesitation. Asgore took it gently and added a number to your contacts, “This is for emergencies, or if you need an answer fairly quickly, it goes to a phone Alphys is keeping free of listening devices for me. I will have her send one for you and Sans soon.”

“Thank you.” You offered Asgore a tentative smile, and he returned it warmly. He needed your trust, at least, if he could get that your loyalty would be easier to secure, and then he would feel much better about a human mage walking around.

A human mage he had agreed to make stronger.

Stars help him.

“if you’re done threatening my m-my human, can we go back inside?” Sans asked, “i’d like to spend some time introducing my brother and _____ before he has to go home.”

“Of course, I am very sorry for the fright,” Asgore said amiably, “I will take Undyne and see if we can’t convince Toriel to leave you to your friend and your brother.”

“You, uhm, don’t have to leave, if you don’t want to. It might be safer to leave in a group…” You said quietly. Regardless of how you’d phrased it, Asgore could hear in your tone and see in your eyes that this wasn’t just a polite offer. This was a request, not a ‘My cooperation depends on your answer’ request, but a request with an implied owed favor.

Sans didn’t miss it either, Asgore saw, the skeleton closed his eyes momentarily in worry, for you, or his brother, or perhaps the both of you, Asgore could not be sure.

“Of course, the tea you made was very nice, could I perhaps trouble you for another cup?” Asgore accepted your request and the implied debt that was owed. He hoped he would never need to use the debt, he would much prefer you did as he asked because you believed in what he was asking.

~

Papyrus had a secret. It wasn’t a secret like why Frisk sometimes acted like they were two people speaking from the same body, or why Sans had nightmares. It was more the secret that every monster who had a passive ability kept.

Papyrus could speak directly to a person’s soul.

Not the whole of a soul, of course, that would be almost the same as speaking to a person, but Papyrus could see the parts of a person's soul that made up the best parts of them, and speak directly to those parts.

(Although it did not always work the way Papyrus expected, like with Frisk who sometimes had two people they could be the best of, if they tried very hard.)

It made some call him naive, he knew, some monsters even believed he was unintelligent or oblivious. Really, it was just hard to think ill of a person when he could see all the potential everyone had to be such great people.

(He also knew that some considered his dreams of recognition to be childish and immature but… Sometimes he just wanted others to see in him, what he saw in them. Sans saw the best in Papyrus, and if something ever happened to Sans, Papyrus knew the world would become a million times darker)

The large and small of it was that Papyrus wasn’t stupid, and he’d heard your soul, which made it much easier to help Toriel with her worries, when his weren’t whispering alongside her.

“-is possible that Mx. _____ will be upset enough that they ask us to leave. If that happens, I promise, Papyrus, I will do everything in my power to help Sans,” She was pacing around in your bedroom, where she’d tugged Papyrus so that Asgore could have his talk with you, “I should have told them, I should have told Sans at least, oh dear…”

“LADY TORIEL, I PROMISE YOUR WORRY IS QUITE UNNECESSARY. THE HUMAN AND MY BROTHER ARE VERY MUCH IN LOVE AND I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU COULD PRY THEM APART, EVEN WITH A SECRET SO LARGE.” Papyrus assured her.

Toriel placed a paw on Papyrus’s shoulder, “I wish I could have your faith, Papyrus, but I have learned that sometimes love is not enough to convince someone to do anything.”

Papyrus liked Toriel, Papyrus did not like looking at Toriel’s soul. The best part of her was missing pieces, parts where Papyrus was pretty sure the best part of her had been tied with the best part of King Asgore once upon a time.

Without anything to say, Papyrus reached up and placed a hand on Toriel’s paw, wishing he could tell her how the best parts of you, and the best parts of Sans were already were already growing closer, making it so the best parts of both of you were at their strongest when you were together.

“Hey,” You peeked your head in, “Everything okay in here? Are we interrupting any top secret conversations?”

“We?” Toriel asked hopefully.

“i, uh, would like to talk to you for a moment… outside, tori?” You opened the door and Papyrus beamed at his brother.

“Of course Sans, of course,” Toriel was still worried, Papyrus could tell, but there was no reason for it. Sans’s hand was held in yours, and your souls were even closer. The tiny soul Sans was carrying burned an even brighter white, impossible to miss with both its parent souls exchanging so much love.

“i’ll be back in a moment, paps,” Sans promised.

“OF COURSE, BROTHER, I WILL TAKE THAT MOMENT TO GET TO KNOW MY NEW SIBLING.” Papyrus assured Sans.

Sans turned blue, exactly as Papyrus hoped he would, but he hadn’t accounted for your reaction. Your soul darkened, just for a moment, and then the best part of you whispered ‘I’d like that very much,’ as you beamed at Papyrus.

Toriel followed Sans out of the room, glancing back at you before gently shutting the door behind her.

You were carrying an orange bag, which you placed on the bed.

“I feel like I’m doing things very backwards,” You admitted sheepishly, your smile softening from its bright grin into a sweeter smile, “I’m not sure how monster relationships work, but with humans we… usually like to be on good terms with our significant other’s family before anything serious starts. Do you have any concerns about me? I can’t… I can’t leave Sans, even if the-the baby was not a factor, I’m almost addicted to him and…” You colored, “Ah, sorry again, I don’t mean to ramble. What I’m trying to say is that I know how important you are to Sans, and I’m positive he’s just as important to you, and I’ll never to try get between you. I want you to always feel welcome where Sans is, and I’ll do my best to address anything that might make you uncomfortable.”

‘I love you already,’ The best parts of you added, ‘I want you to be my family.’

“HUMAN,” Papyrus spoke to both parts of you, “IN MONSTER RELATIONSHIPS… WELL, I BELIEVE YOU AND MY BROTHER HAVE SKIPPED THE VERY IMPORTANT FIRST DATE, BUT IT IS ALRIGHT, FOR I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, SHALL LET YOU IN ON A FEW SECRETS!”

You nodded and watched him attentively, every part the eager student.

“WHEN A MONSTER BEGINS A RELATIONSHIP WITH ANOTHER MONSTER, THEY WILL MOVE AT THEIR OWN SPEED IN THE VERY IMPORTANT DATING STEPS,” Papyrus informed you, “AND WHEN BOTH MONSTERS ARE COMFORTABLE ENOUGH, THEY SHARE THEIR SOULS.”

Your hand went reflexively to your chest, and Papyrus could not help the chuckle that escaped.

“NYEHEHEH, YES HUMAN, SHARING SOULS IS WHAT TAKES A MONSTER COUPLE FROM DATEMATES TO MATES! IF THEIR SOULS ARE COMPATIBLE, THAT IS.”

“You can see it, can’t you?” You asked wryly, “It must be very interesting seeing souls all the time.”

The best part of you winked conspiratorially at Papyrus.

“WE CAN SEE IT, AND I CAN SEE HOW WELL YOUR SOULS MATCH,” Papyrus placed a hand on your shoulder, “NO ONE COULD MATCH MY BROTHER’S SOUL AS WELL AS YOU HAVE, HUMAN, AND SO I HAVE NO WORRIES. I BELIEVE IN YOU.”

You closed your eyes and nodded, “Thank you Papyrus,” You said, your voice hoarse, “I will… I will do my best to not betray your faith in me.”

Papyrus considered for a moment, then hauled you up for the hug it looked like you needed, “I KNOW IT IS NOT OFFICIAL, YET, BUT I WILL VERY MUCH ENJOY HAVING YOU AS A SIBLING WHEN THE TIME COMES.”

“Anyone would be lucky to be getting you as a brother,” You told him, grinning. You turned away for a moment, and Papyrus did not call attention to the tears you wiped away as fast as you could, “I’ve, uh, got a few things for you.” You opened the bag and Papyrus started to bounce lightly in his eagerness, “This is for rent and utilities and anything else you need.” You handed him the bag of cash, “I would ask you to stay here, honestly, but it’s… it’s not really safe for a monster on their own around here, and I wouldn’t want you to get bored in the house all day, so for right now it’s best you stay in a monster dominated area… but I’ll bring Sans over, and you’re welcome to come over anytime!” You promised, “Just, please bring another monster with you? It’ll only be for… well, about a month-ish. Then… we’ve made some plans for about a month from now that’ll put us all a lot closer.”

“HUMAN, THIS APPEARS TO BE MORE THAN WHAT SANS USUALLY SPENDS ON OUR RENT...” Papyrus said slowly.

You eyed the bundle of money, “Is it? I didn’t really ask Sans, I didn’t want him to worry about… well, I asked BP and he gave me an estimate, and then I added a bit more just in case. Whatever you don’t use on essentials, you can use on whatever else you want. It’s a gift.”

“THANK YOU, HUMAN…” Papyrus accepted the money and placed it in the pocket of his hoodie (Which was not anywhere near as cool as his battle armor, but Burgerpants had said that it would be more appropriate for a human area.)

“And one more thing,” You reached into the bag again “This is a blanket my best friend made, I'd like you to have it.” You turned around and Papyrus’s eyes widened in delight as he looked down at it.

It looked soft, like a fluffy baby animal that Papyrus saw on TV sometimes. It was a pale shade of yellow, and as Papyrus examined it, he decided that whoever made it must be excellent at traps if they could tie knots like these.

“WOWIE! YOUR FRIEND MADE THIS?” Papyrus accepted it, running a gloved hand over the blanket.

“She did,” You grinned, “She worries sometimes, and when she worries she makes things.”

“SANS USED TO MAKE THINGS,” Papyrus told you, but most importantly told the best part of your soul which would likely prompt the best part of Sans’s soul to start doing things he loved again, “HUMAN… YOU AREN’T LETTING HIM GO TO WORK AGAIN, ARE YOU?”

“No Papyrus, I’m not,” Your smile faded slightly.

“THANK YOU,” Papyrus held the blanket a little bit tighter and let himself get lost in the pattern of the knots for a moment, “HE SAID HE LIKED IT, BUT HIS SOUL… SAID OTHERWISE.”

“He’s not going back, and I’ll keep him safe. I promise.” You gave Papyrus a determined look, “So you stay safe, too, until we can be there. I know you’re strong, Sans… told me, but if something bad happens please find some monsters you could trust?”

“DR. ALPHYS AND UNDYNE HAVE MOVED INTO THE APARTMENT NEXT TO MINE!” Papyrus assured you, “UNDYNE IS MY VERY BEST FRIEND AND TOGETHER WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE!”

Something changed in your face, and to his worry even the best part of you seemed to grow sadder.

“Yeah,” You agreed softly, “She is strong… you’ll be safe around her.”

“hey, hope you two weren’t too bonely without me,” Sans opened the door and slipped in.

“SAAAAANNNNSSS!” Papyrus protested the pun, even as he grinned. The moment Sans had walked in, both of your souls had started shining so bright he almost couldn’t see the best parts of you two reaching for each other.

~

Burgerpants did not have a lot of friends. When he had been Underground he had, had no friends. After the war settled down, he’d been befriended by Frisk, and through Frisk, Toriel, and then he’d met Sans (Who was everyone’s friend really), and by the time everyone had settled into some sort of routine, they’d all been friends with Papyrus, too.

And then there was you.

Meeting you had been one hundred and ten percent an accident. Frisk had hurt themself playing the day prior, and when Burgerpants had happened to glance into a window and spotted a wrist splint that looked like it would fit the kid perfectly. He had forgotten for just a moment that he was a monster, and the store he’d been looking into was a pharmacy and illegal for him to shop from.

That is, he had forgotten until the woman behind the counter had started screaming, and Burgerpants had had to beat a quick retreat before the cops could be called.

You had come upon him swearing up a blue storm at himself in the alleyway to the side of the pharmacy.

“I don’t think that’s physically possible, even if you didn’t have a spine.” You’d told him after a particularly vulgar and descriptive series of expletives.

“What’s it to you?” He’d grumbled, too angry about forgetting he was less than a second class citizen to bother affecting a demure posture.

You’d looked between Burgerpants and the pharmacy, before asking what happened, and, for reasons that even now he couldn't fathom, he’d told you.

When you’d disappeared from the alley he’d assumed your curiosity about the vulgar cat monster had been satisfied and you’d gone on your way with your life…

Until you’d returned with the wrist splint, a notebook, a pack of pens, and a small bag of candy.

“You want the notebook, too?” You’d asked as you opened the pens and scribbled something down on the first page, “I’m going to keep the pens because I hoard them but… well, anyway, here’s the splint and some candy, cause it sucks messing up your dominant hand, and here’s my number if you need anything else from a place you can’t get into in the future. I’m more than happy to help, just text me. Text, please don’t call, I’ve got a thing about phone calls.”

(At the time he’d thought that you meant you had a thing about getting calls from monsters, but he’d seen you on a phone call with Quin, and you’d been short, tetchy, and awkward the whole time.)

You were not a friend he had been looking for, had not been a friend he’d been expecting, but you were a friend he was not willing to give up.

Burgerpants watched patiently as you came back inside with Asgore and fixed three more cups of tea before disappearing into the bedroom. He waited until Toriel came back with Sans, not speaking yet as they walked out the back door. He waited until Asgore was caught up in a paper you had slipped him before going into the bedroom, then he made his move.

“Hey Buddy,” Burgerpants followed Undyne into the kitchen and leaned against the archway as she rinsed out her cup.

“Hey, uh, Burgerpants,” Undyne placed the cup down and watched him warily, never quite able to shed the watchful Captain of the Guard.

“My friend seemed pretty upset to meet you,” Burgerpants examined his claws, wishing he could pull out a cigarette, “Why was that, exactly?”

Undyne winced, “Damn, Punk, that’s… kind of a long story.”

Burgerpants looked up from his claws and didn’t look away from Undyne’s face. Under his cool gaze she started to fidget.

“Graaaahh,” She growled, “What’s it to you, dammit?!”

Burgerpants heard Asgore shift in the living room, as though to look at them, but he didn’t move otherwise and a second later he heard the King shift back to his previous position.

“They’re my friend.” Burgerpants said lowly, “And I don’t like to see them upset.” His tail started twitching, and only his firm control of his various limbs kept it from lashing in agitation.

Undyne growled under her breath, looking like she would like nothing more than to suplex him through the floor, “I made a mistake during the war, and I killed their sister.”

Burgerpants didn’t respond. He knew about Remi, in an abstract way that one person picks up on the sore spots you didn’t want to poke with another person. You mentioned her sometimes, but he thought the things you didn’t say spoke volumes more than the things you did.

“I know you and the king pretty much came here today to kill them,” Burgerpants said finally, “I, uh, hope that’s not still the case?”

“They’ll be fine,” Undyne grunted, “They… well, monsters aren’t going to be the ones that kill them.”

“Good, good,” Burgerpants sighed in relief, “It would have really sucked holding you two off while they got away.”

“What.” Undyne’s voice had gone so flat, the word didn’t even sound like a question.

“I mean, I would have had a hell of a time convincing them to go, but I would have used Sans and Papyrus against them,” Burgerpants shrugged, “I’m not particularly strong, but I probably could keep you and the king in an encounter long enough for them to get to a public place.”

Burgerpants had looked out the window now, mentally figuring the distance between the house and the nearest busy human building. He knew Undyne was staring at him like he had come from an entirely different world.

“They really mean that much to you?” Undyne asked, uncharacteristically quiet.

“Do you know what my name is?” Burgerpants asked in return.

Undyne shifted slightly, “Uh… Burgerpants?”

“Yeah, that’s what I go by,” He nodded, “It’s a… a really embarrassing story why people started calling me that, but so many people know me by Burgerpants now that I don’t even tell people my real name. I told _____ why I called myself Burgerpants and they got real upset, told me they weren’t going to call me something that always reminded me of an embarrassing story. They’ve gone out of their way to help me, and whatever monster I’m getting things for, including your girlfriend. They ask about my life, and the lives of the monsters they’re helping through me, and they actually care. When I mentioned a friend of mine had gone missing, they went out that night and bought my friend out of slavery. Then when they found out that my friend had been drugged into an artificial heat, the first thing they did was to warn me and ask how to take care of said friend.” Burgerpants turned a sharp glare from the window to Undyne, “And you killed their sister, then show up at their house intending to kill them.”

“Look-”

“No, you look,” Burgerpants control frayed and his tail started lashing, “I don’t know what you and the king are up to, but you better leave _____ alone. They aren’t like other humans. I’ve already wasted most of my life, I wouldn't consider keeping them safe a bad end.”

Undyne watched Burgerpants with narrowed amber eyes for a long time before scoffing and breaking eye contact, “We aren’t going to involve them in anything they don’t volunteer for. Now leave me alone, you’re pissing me off.”

Burgerpants deliberately lingered for a moment, so she would understand that leaving was his idea and not hers, before sauntering back into the living room and sitting in the kitchen chair you’d set out for him, grabbing a well worn paperback to pass the time.

~

Undyne didn’t know what to make of you. Though, to be fair, she would probably be able to get a better read on you if you hadn’t entirely closed yourself off to her.

Maybe it’s a mage thing, because no other human had been able to hide their soul so thoroughly from her. Her eye patch doesn’t hinder her Soul Sight, but for some reason everytime she tried to look for your soul, all she could see was…

Well. Something she didn’t want to see.

It was driving her insane, though. When you, Sans, and Papyrus finally emerged from the bedroom, she kept you in the corner of her eye, trying push past the darkened image surrounding your innermost self.

She was focusing so hard on trying to look past that shield, those images of a silent battlefield, that she can’t hide her jump when you say Alphys’s name.

“-I have season four, too, and you only said season three, do you know if she has the fourth season or would it be redundant to give it to her?” You were asking Burgerpants. Vaguely Undyne remembered that Alphys had sent her an excited message about the possibility of finally getting to find out what happened beyond the disastrous season two of her favorite anime.

“Sorry buddy, she only said season three, I don’t know if she’s got four but,” Burgerpants eyes flicked to Undyne, and she tensed slightly, “Undyne might know, they’re dating.”

That cat was an asshole. Undyne met your eyes steadily, wondering if you would change your mind about helping Alphys because she was associated with Undyne. You set your shoulders back and Undyne prepared for a brisk ‘Nevermind’, or even for you to ignore her altogether.

Humans could talk a good talk about forgiveness, not holding grudges, and being good people, but she hadn’t met one yet that could hold to it. There had been more than one scientist who had been excited to get to know Alphys until they realized she was so closely connected to Undyne.

(Yes she was infamous as The Commander of the Monster Army and while she would never be ashamed at how hard she had fought for her people, she was ashamed that her life had been included in the terms of surrender that Asgore had sent the humans. There had been other things, but to Undyne it felt like her people had been sold out for her life, and now this hung over poor Alphys as well.)

“Undyne, do you know if Dr. Alphys has Mew Mew Kissy Cutie season four?” You asked, eyes just as closed off as your soul, “Papyrus mentioned you living together, I should have put it together earlier…”

Undyne is momentarily dizzy, and she realized she’d been preparing for your denial, she’d been preparing to defend Alphys, but you hadn’t reacted like she’d expected.

“Uh, yeah we live together and... no,” Undyne shook her head in a denial, “Alphys she… She had the first two seasons in the Underground, but she lost them when we… They were her favorite, uh, series. Mew Mew that is. Was her favorite Anime. That fell into the Underground.” She mentally swore at herself for babbling.

Something in your face changed and for the briefest second Undyne caught sight of a flicker of green in your chest, and then you disappeared down the hall.

Undyne felt her face twist into a bitter scowl. You weren’t so different afterall.

“UNDYNE?” Papyrus asked, “ARE YOU WELL?”

“Fine Paps, don’t worry about it.” Undyne tried to wipe the look off her face, particularly when she saw the look Sans was levelling at her.

You reappeared a moment later, and Undyne was surprised to see you were holding four box sets, a thin book, and a small bottle. You marched over to Undyne with a set look.

“There’s no reason for BP to have to go to her apartment if you’re going to see her later tonight,” You told Undyne firmly, “Hands.”

Undyne held out her hands without thinking, responding to the tone of your voice.

(The same tone Sans uses when he’s serious and needs Papyrus to do something, her subconscious reminds her guiltily, a parent’s voice wielded by a sibling.)

“Here’s the first four seasons,” She placed the boxed set in Undyne’s hands, “The book is a choose your own adventure that they put out after the third season when Mew Mew started to lose popularity. BP said Alphys wanted a pill of anti-anxiety medication,” You tossed a look over your shoulder to look at BP, who nodded. You took a deep breath, “Right, well, that’s normally kind of hard to get, but Remi was on Xanax to manage panic attacks and I… I never threw it out. After. It’s a little old, but it’s not past the use by date so it might be a little less strong than fresh stuff, but if she’s trying to analyze the chemical makeup it should do just fine. It’s all I’ve got.” You placed the bottle on top of the book with just a tiny bit more force than necessary.

Undyne looked at the bottle, and thought of Alphys. Undyne thought of Alphys shaking, sometimes totally silent, sometimes crying, sometimes spewing a seemingly never ending diatribe of self hatred. Undyne thought of the small human curled in your lap in the middle of a battlefield, of the soft voice and smile and words of forgiveness, and Undyne thought of all the hours she had spent carefully coaxing Alphys out of panic attacks and how every instance had made her even more determined to protect her girlfriend from everything.

Undyne met your eyes and felt guilt squirming in her soul, even as the image around your soul fluttered again revealing another flash of green.

“Thank you.” She said gruffly.

You seemed to be struggling with something for a moment, and Undyne watched your hands clench a few times, “Does… does Dr. Alphys have anxiety?”

Undyne nodded once.

“There’s… There’s forty-two in there. It’s a lower dose, but don’t let her take more than four at a time. Four is the limit for… for a fifteen year old human female. I don’t know how that translates to monsters, but I bet she will.” You said quietly.

“Thank you,” Undyne said as softly as she could manage.

Asgore, Toriel, Burgerpants, and Papyrus were watching the two of you, Undyne realized. Asgore with hope, Toriel with pride, Burgerpants with a knowing smile, and Papyrus with the grin he wore when he knew something someone else didn’t.

Sans wasn’t sitting with Papyrus anymore.

“Please tell Dr. Alphys that I hope she enjoys the series,” You said quietly, “The third season… it really makes up for the whole second season and the fourth… well, it was a wild ride the whole time. If you, uhm, haven’t watched it you should. With her. If she’s anything like… She’ll want someone there to talk about it.”

Undyne nodded slowly, “I… I used to watch anime a lot.” She wasn’t sure why she had admitted it.

“Me too,” And for a moment Undyne could see your whole soul, bright, powerful, and brimming with your most prominent trait.

Kindness.

‘Maybe,’ Undyne admitted grudgingly to herself, ‘Maybe with them on our side we’ll do better this time… maybe.’

Chapter Text

You watched the monsters leave with a mixture of regret and relief. On one hand, you’d had a lot of fun talking to Papyrus, BP, and Sans. On the other hand, the palpable tension between Toriel and Asgore (Especially after Sans had spoken to Toriel privately) had started to wear on you, and the tension between you and Undyne had hung awkwardly in the air despite the numerous times you’d tried to go along with Papyrus engaging both of you at the same time. Still, it was clear the time with his brother had done Sans a world of good.

You glanced at the couch and made a decision.

“what are you doing?” Sans asked curiously, wrapping his arms reflexively around your neck as you scooped him up.

“Kidnapping you.” You told him cheerfully.

“i see. what nefarious things could you have in mind?” Sans pretended to lament.

“It’s all part of my evil plan,” You put on your most evil voice, trying to conjure the image of an old timey villain twirling his moustache, “Step one-kidnap the skeleton. Step two-Popcorn. Step three-Movie. Step four-Cuddling. It’s foolproof.”

“well i guess i can’t protest an evil plan where the profit is cuddling.” Sans mused as you gently set him on the couch. He held onto you for a moment longer and pulled you into a sweet kiss that made your heart race.

“step two?” Sans prompted with a mischievous grin when he realized you had completely forgotten what you were doing.

“Right, popcorn,” You shook your head to clear it and went into the kitchen. You found yourself staring blankly into the cupboard for a few moments, not thinking at all.

“Come on _____,” You muttered to yourself, “Stay on this planet.” You grabbed a package of stovetop popcorn and covered it evenly in green fire. You held the cooking popcorn in one hand and carefully fished your popcorn bowl from the top of the cupboard where you’d placed it. You heard Sans moving around in the front room, but he didn’t call out for you or sound distressed so you stayed in the kitchen.

When the popcorn was finally done and filled with magic, you dumped it in the bowl and went back into the living room. Then you stopped and raised an eyebrow.

Sans had scavenged all the blankets from the bed, and all the pillows, and had somehow managed to turn your couch into a den of comfort.

“you forgot to lock me in a tower,” Sans said with a grin, “i improvised.”

“Forgive me my mistake Princess,” You settled the popcorn in Sans’s lap and brushed a kiss against his cheekbone before moving over to the pile of movies next to your TV, “I won’t forget to lock you safely away again.”

“good, it’s not an evil plan if you don’t lock your hostage up,” Sans told you.

“It’s true, you are the beautiful princess waiting for a white knight to save you,” You glanced over your shoulder and wiggled your eyebrows, “Or maybe you’re content with the villain?”

“if you’re the villain, i’m more than willing to ignore any would be hero,” Sans assured you.

Your heart tightened in your chest, but you masked it by taking the moment to flex and strike a pose, “Probably for the best, I’d beat the pants off any ‘hero’ that tried to take you away.”

Sans flushed, but he was smiling and for just a moment you thought you saw a bit of shine at his chest, but then you blinked and it was gone. You mentally set aside whether you’d seen Sans’s soul (Through his clothes?) and glanced back at the movies.

“Do you have any movies in particular you want to watch?”

Sans tapped a finger against his chin, “well, it’s got to have a skeleton main character.”

“Oh yeah?” You asked in amusement.

“no doubt, and he has to rescue his adorable love interest from a horrible situation.”

“He does, does he?” You glanced at the movies, already knowing which movie would match Sans’s ‘demands’, “I think I can do that.”

“wait, what? really?”

You fished the movie out of the middle of the pile, “Have you ever seen The Nightmare Before Christmas?”

“...no?”

You grinned, “It’s one of my favorite movies, I have it going pretty much constantly in October. We… We dressed up as the characters a couple of times, Remi and I… She was Shock almost every Halloween until she was twelve…” You made a slight face, “Then she started going as Sally.” You put the movie in the player, grabbed the remote, and slipped into the spot Sans had obviously left for you.

“is the sally character not your favorite?” Sans asked gently.

“I love Sally, actually, it was… Remi started Looking like an adult way too young and a guy I went to school with noticed and started trying to convince her she was as old as she looked. She dressed up as Sally so she could do a couple’s costume.” You shook your head.

“sounds like a real winner,” Sans commented as you skipped through the previews.

“It was Robbie,” You played the movie.

“Ah,” Sans leaned back against you, you weren’t sure if he was seeking comfort or trying to give it, but the contact made you feel better so you wrapped an arm around him and propped your head on his shoulder bone as you both fell into silence to watch the movie.

Sans shifted a little bit as the narrator introduced the movie, but as soon as the first song started he went quiet and, with the exception of grabbing a handful of popcorn occasionally, he didn’t move again. The best part about knowing the movie so well was that you could watch Sans out of the corner of your eye instead of actually watching the movie and know exactly what he was reacting to.

You grinned when the day was won and Halloween was set back to rights, and Sans lit up like a firework, but it was nothing compared to his expression when Jack found Sally on the hill and they had their final song.

“Did it meet your expectations?” You asked softly as the movie faded to make way for the credits.

Sans set the popcorn bowl on the floor and shifted until he was facing you, “that… that was nice.” He admitted quietly, tangling his legs with yours, leaning his head on your chest and laying an arm over you.

“It is nice to know that it isn’t just pastel princes and princesses that get a happy ending,” You said with a smile, wrapping your arms around him.

“do you think we’re going to?” Sans asked, so quiet you almost didn’t hear it.

You considered your answer very carefully before responding.

“I… I don’t think we’ll get a happy ending like Jack and Sally, or like any other movie really. We’re real people, and stuff keeps happening after the villain is defeated… but I’m going to make sure I give you the best real life equivalent that I can manage, because I love you… both of you.”

Sans tensed for a moment, then tightened his grip on you, “just… just remember that there isn’t a happy ending without you, okay?”

“I’ll be at your side the whole time, no bones about it,” You wiggled your eyebrows when he glanced up at you to see if the pun was intentional, “Do you want to watch another movie? I don’t know if I can pull off another skeleton hero, but there’s a pretty awesome skeleton in Corpse Bride.”

Sans considered a moment before agreeing and you untangled from him to pop Corpse Bride in and make a quick stop in the bathroom to grab your nighttime pills as you were fairly certain you weren’t going to be getting back up off the couch this time.

You switched positions a little bit so that you were less curled around Sans and he was more laying on you before you started the movie back up.

Sure enough, by the time Victor and Emily were looking for a way to get to the surface to meet Victor’s parents, Sans had fallen asleep.

You looked down at Sans, holding tight to you even in sleep, and let the thoughts you’d been suppressing most of the day out.

Undyne. You’d let your sister’s killer into your house, you’d been polite if not exactly nice to her, you’d forced back every single instinct in you crying out for you to Hate, to Fight this monster that had destroyed the one good thing you’d done with your life… but you hadn’t. You honestly weren’t sure if you were proud of yourself for doing what Remi had wanted, or angry at yourself for being so placid and docile.

‘You’re a real doormat.’ The tiny voice in your head mocked and you grimaced.

Asgore and the rebellion. It wasn’t like you hadn’t known the king was visiting with your death in mind. A little tea, a little chat, and then a casual murder to protect your race, and you’d entertained the idea of just letting it happen. Your existence was a danger not just to one or two monsters, but all of them as a whole. Governments could pretend to be friendly and anti-torture all they wanted, but you knew the moment they got wind of a human with magic they’d be willing to do anything to get that weapon on their side. The worst part was if they didn’t manage to break you, they would hurt Quin or Sans to break you… but Asgore offered you a way out with the rebellion. A way to keep Sans and Quin safe, and fight to keep them that way. Asgore might have thought your decision to turn your back on humanity was a hard decision to make, but in reality it was the perfect way to keep what was important to you safe.

Sans and the baby. It wasn’t like you’d never thought of being a parent, you’d all but raised Remi from the first moment she’d been placed in your arms and as you’d grown older it had been easier and easier to look at her and understand why people had kids. You had gotten to a point, however, with the third or fourth person you’d dated not understanding why you put Remi first, where you had decided it wasn’t worth it to go looking. Not for love, not for family, you had what you needed. The people you’d dated couldn't understand why they didn’t come first in your life and had inevitably left or been left, but at the end of the day you could come home to find that your best friend and little sister had spent the whole day making elven cloaks and marathoning the Lord of the Rings series.

Until it was just your best friend watching you with sad and knowing eyes, trying to keep you going, and you hadn’t been remotely interested in letting anyone get close again…

Except Sans. Sans who, in any other world where things had gone remotely right for everyone, never would have had a reason to meet you. Sans who had been just as hurt as you in some ways, and hurt more in others. Sans who had been vulnerable and who had drawn you in with every word he spoke, every sigh he made. Maybe you had rescued Sans from Robbie, but Sans had definitely saved you from drowning in a world where your life jacket had disappeared and you were slowly pushing away the only other person capable of rescuing you.

Yes, Sans had stolen part of your soul. You acknowledged it, and from Sans’s reaction you gathered it was a pretty awful thing, but until Toriel had pulled your soul out to help you access your magic, your soul had been a nebulous thing that people who went to church wanted to ‘save’. Even now it was hard to wrap your head around the idea that the cartoony green heart was You, that the person you saw in the mirror everyday was just a shell and the real you was apparently a concentrated dose of kindness flavoured with some justice and bravery. Maybe if you’d grown up like a monster had, with the knowledge of what a soul was and that it was there, it would affect you more, but you knew what it was like to want to hold onto a good thing and never let it go… and the fact that, for Sans, you were that good thing meant a whole lot.

Sans made a small sound in his sleep and you watched a smile grow and then fade to a happy sleepy expression he was never aware he made.

You took a deep breath and held Sans a tiny bit tighter.

You would continue to be nice to Undyne, you would ignore the burning part of you that wanted to scream and yell.

You were painfully in love with Sans, and you were willing to accept what life was going to throw at you because of that.

You were going to be a parent. There was going to be a tiny person who was half you and half Sans running around in the world.

If you had to, you would scour the world in fire, yourself, to make sure it was safe for that little person.

~

Sans woke up alone.

Well, to be fair he’d woken up when you first gotten up, but you’d whispered for him to go back to sleep, so he’d happily complied.

Now he was awake, and he was sadly alone. He slowly sat up and saw that you’d placed a bowl next to a note on the coffee table.

I have to do some baking, so I’ve locked down the kitchen because it’s going to smell awful for a bit, sorry. I left my phone on the table if you want to call Papyrus or anyone.

I love you, I’ll be out soon <3

(If you need me just call out)

Sans felt slightly warm and sensitive, but he was almost used to that feeling, even though it drove him crazy, so he didn’t call for you.

He could handle it.

Sans reached out and took the bowl, smiling to himself when he saw it was full of strawberries again. You were wonderful and he was so glad that you were his.

You were still his, even after everything.

Sans had never been more terrified than when Tori had burst into the house saying that Asgore was planning on killing you and his baby.

He hadn’t even known he was pregnant. His magic was in such a state of flux he hadn’t even noticed the tiny new soul forming from the tiny piece of you he had taken. Tori had babbled an apology before darting through the kitchen…

And returning with Asgore, who had explained everything. The cursed children, the halflings, everything.

All under the assumption that he had known, not exactly what he had done, but at least the consequences of it.

Having to come to terms with a child that would mean his death if you didn’t love the both of them was almost as bad as sitting there and staying silent while Asgore told you the same story.

But you did. You loved Sans, and you loved the soul that Sans could feel, if he concentrated, gathering a small ball of your and his magic around itself.

That hadn’t stopped him from demanding why Tori hadn’t told him the moment he got her alone in the garden.

“They were half in love with you the first time I saw them,” Toriel had told him when he had pulled her outside while you and Papyrus talked, “And you with them, I wanted to give both of you a chance to become comfortable with your feelings, a chance to be happy. I knew your magic was not working correctly and you would not notice the extra soul before you were told, I am sorry for my lie of omission. I genuinely only wanted what is best for you.”

Sans scowled and shook his head. He was still upset with Toriel, but… but in the end he hadn’t lost anything. He had you, he had Papyrus, and now he had his tiny little soul to watch over.

Your cell phone going off finally pulled Sans out of his thoughts and he picked it up and looked at the screen.

‘Incoming Call From Quin’

“_____, you’re getting a phone call from quin,” Sans called, looking towards the kitchen.

The door was blocked with a tarp. Sans raised a brow bone, wondering what in the world you could be baking that required the kitchen be blocked off thus.

“If you’re comfortable with it, would you answer it?” Your voice was slightly muffled, “She’ll just keep calling otherwise, and I’ll have to hop the fence into the backyard of the house next door to get in the front door.”

“i’ll answer it,” Sans called, and before he could second guess himself he hit the green button to accept the call.

“_____?” Quin immediately asked, “You answered on the first call?”

“err, actually they’re in the kitchen baking. this is sans.”

“Ooh, do they have the tarps up?”

Sans glanced at the covered doorway, “yes?”

“Gotcha, yeah I wouldn't go in there until they’re done. Hi, by the way, I’m Quin. We haven’t met yet, but I was hoping to rectify that today.”

“are you coming over?” Sans asked curiously, glancing at the front door as though Quin would burst through it any moment.

“No, but _____ is supposed to work a shift tonight and I was hoping you’d come along so I could meet you.”

“oh, uh, maybe? _____ hasn’t said anything…”

“You should! I was actually calling cause I was hoping _____ would come in a little early, I interviewed a couple of new bartenders and I wanted to get her opinion on them. I’d like your opinion, too, actually.” Quin sounded pretty excited by the idea and Sans glanced at the covered kitchen door.

“i... i think i’d like to meet you. if _____ brings it up, i’ll come. i’ll let them know you want them to come in early.”

“Excellent! I’m excited to meet you Sans, _____ was lit up like a candle when they were talking about you yesterday.”

Quin hung up and Sans felt a blush grow in his cheekbones.

“quin said she hired some new bartenders and was hoping you’d come in early to give her your opinion,” Sans called to you while he fought to master his blush.

“Really? We’ve had the positions open forever, but she’s been super picky about hiring anyone…” Your voice trailed away for a second and then it sounded like you’d moved closer to the tarp, “Do you want to come to work with me? I… I know we’d have to use the damn leash, but I don’t really want to leave you alone for that long. Quin could teach you to knit, or crochet while I’m working, if she’s hired new people she’ll be doing mostly supervisor stuff I bet…” You trailed off, but Sans was smiling, just glad you’d asked.

There’d been a part of him worried that you’d just tell him you were going.

“i’d like to go, quin sounds nice.” Sans called.

“Perfect, I these cookies will be done in just a bit and then Danny will be here and…” You moved away from the tarp again, mumbling to yourself.

Sans considered the couch, which was still really comfortable, and finally gave in, climbing to his feet and heading for the bathroom to take a shower.

~

You stared at the leash.

The leash sat innocently in your hands, unaware of how it had offended you.

“... are you going to light it on fire?”

“I might.”

Sans sighed and reached up to take the leash from you. Your hand tightened on it instinctively.

“Sorry, sorry,” You sighed, “I just… I hate it.”

“i had noticed,” Sans cupped your chin and pulled you in for a kiss, “you don’t mean it to be demeaning, and that’s important. it does bother me, but it bothers you more.”

“I don’t like the idea of owning someone,” You sighed, “I like it even less when that person is you and I’m expected to lead you around town like this.”

Sans took the leash from you, you resisted for a moment but he eventually took it from you.

“it’s a precaution,” He said, meeting your eyes, “if i get to the end of the leash, i’ve gotten too far for you to protect.”

Magic flooded your veins instantly. You were almost confused by the violent reaction that rose in the back of your throat at the thought of needing to defend Sans.

“hey,” Sans’s eyes had gone wide, “i’m okay, nothing has happened.”

“Sorry I… I’m not sure,” You shook your head and realized you’d balled your hands into fists and had covered them in magical green fire.

“no that was… that was me, monsters with pregnant mates get defensive, i thought it might make you feel better but…” Sans seemed just as surprised at your reaction.

“Must be a magic thing,” You dismissed the fire with a concentrated effort and reluctantly accepted the unattached end of the leash when Sans handed it to you, “Just… Just not used to it.”

Sans pulled you down for another kiss, “it’ll be okay. i love you.”

“I love you, too,” You looked at the door, “Let’s go meet these new bartenders and Quin.”

You locked the door behind you as you walked out, and paused.

You’d completely forgotten, in the chaos caused by Asgore’s visit, about the unlocked door.

You pulled out your phone and set a reminder to buy a new lock for the front door, you were not happy that someone had broken into your house. You were especially unhappy that they had broken into your house while Sans had been alone in there.

“_____?”

“Sorry Sans, got lost in my own thoughts for a moment.” You gave him a small smile, then slipped your hand through the loop on the leash and took Sans’s hand, threading your fingers with his.

“it’s okay, you had an a-door-able look on your face.” Sans grinned at you.

“Was it cute, door was it a real wooden expression?” You started walking in the direction of Quin’s place.

“i wooden expect to see a negative expression on yew ’re face.” Sans nudged you.

“Oh, are we doing tree puns now? You’ll never stump me that way.”

“you’re the one who opened the door to wood puns, i simply went back to their roots.”

“I’m a real sap fir tree puns, I never get board when I’m making them.”

“they’re real poplar, no one wants to leaf a tree pun alone.”

“The one who does knot like a tree pun is a dumb ash .”

“you are real rootless with puns.”

“I’ll have yew know I’ve lost more than one frond who couldn't handle the heat.”

fry can’t be-leaf it, everyone a-doors puns.”

“... Okay, that one was really good and I think I just fell even more in love with you for it.” You snickered.

“gross,” Sans smiled and squeezed your hand.

You glanced in the window as you got to Quin’s Place, but there was no sign of your friend or any of the bartenders she’d supposedly hired. You knocked on the glass of the door and glanced out onto the street, looking for anyone who might be paying you and Sans a bit too much attention. You shifted slightly so Sans was closer to the door.

“_____!” The door opened, “You brought Sans! That’s wonderful! Hi Sans, I’m Quin.”

You grinned as your bouncy friend lead the both of you into the bar, locking the door behind you.

“hi,” Sans held his free hand out to Quin, “i’m sans, sans the skeleton.”

“Quin, Quin Black. Nice to meet you Sans,” Quin shook his hand, “Sorry to jump right into business, but I’d like to get your guys opinions on these guys before I officially start training. I think I’m going to start opening a few hours earlier, and I’ll work a slightly earlier shift with one of the new guys, and you can work the later shift with the other guy so you can keep your night hours. Does that sound okay to you?”

“Sounds fine as long as they don’t bother Sans.” You shrugged.

“I’m fairly certain they won’t give Sans any problems, but that’s the reason I want your opinion.” Quin lead the two of you towards her office and opened the door, “There’ll probably be some overlap so you’ll work with both of them occasionally, but I’m still working out the shifts.”

Sitting in the chairs in Quin’s office were a robot, and a man literally made from fire.

“grillby?” Sans asked in surprise.

Hello Sans, Grillby signed.

“Oh good, you already know each other, that makes things easier,” Quin beamed, “Mettaton, Grillby, this is _____ my best friend and the other bartender, and their...” Quin glanced between your clasped hands, “Their boyfriend, Sans.”

“Darling, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Mettaton rose in a surprisingly graceful move. You held out a hand, but he bypassed it entirely and pulled you into a hug. “The king was right, you are the sweetest thing.” Mettaton murmured to you quietly before pulling away.

You kept your smile on as you glanced between Grillby and Mettaton.

Asgore did say that he’d get two monsters near you in an inconspicuous way to teach you magic.

Chapter Text

A million and one things ran through your head, and as much as you wished you could say most of them were unselfish thoughts, the one thing you kept returning to was a wish that Asgore would have had a little more regard to Quin’s safety before sending more monsters here. You pushed those thoughts as far away as you could, Quin was an adult and she had been the one to hire Grillby and Mettaton, regardless that Asgore had sent them.

Sans squeezed your hand and pulled you over to where Grillby had stood and was holding his arms open.

“It has been much too long, Sans,” Grillby crackled in a way that you both heard and felt.

“yeah grillby, buddy, it really has,” Sans sighed, hugging the fiery monster without hesitation, though he never let go of your hand.

“I was just telling Grillby that we both know ASL so there should be no issue with his inability to speak,” Quin said, leaning against the edge of her desk.

“His inability to speak?” You frowned slightly in confusion.

“Monsters like Grillby are only audible to other monsters and mages,” Mettaton purred, meeting your eyes, “Grillby makes due with signing, since mages died out so long ago.”

“Oh, of course,” You nodded, “Well, Quin and I both dealt with a person who had bouts of being non-verbal, so we have a better than passing understanding of ASL.”

“That will benefit you, Frisk only signs, they don’t speak.” Grillby nodded.

You glanced at Quin, who was smiling and nodding.

“She really can’t hear a word I’m saying,” Grillby assured you. You realized quickly that the danger in Grillby would be answering what he said instead of what he signed.

“grillby owned the best bar and grill in the underground,” Sans grinned up at you, “i spent a lot of time there.” He squeezed your hand, letting you know without words what he couldn’t say. He spent a lot of resets at Grillby’s.

“Well Grillby, I’m sure it’ll be a pleasure working with you,” You held out a hand and shook Grillby’s fiery one, relieved when he felt a bit warm but not hot, “If Sans says your bar and grill was the hottest place in the Underground, I’ll have to believe him. If you can bring the same fire to Quin’s Place, then I’m sure you’ll light it up.”

“Darling, No,” Mettaton whispered, appalled. Quin just shook her head, a look of fondness etched into her features.

Grillby heaved a visible sigh, I am afraid you and Sans get along too well.

“would you say we get along like a house on fire ?” Sans asked innocently. You beamed down as him and let go of his hand, quickly pulled your hand free of the leash, and wrapped an arm around his waist.

“Even for you, that was bad,” Quin shook her head.

You grinned and looked at Mettaton, “So Grillby owned a bar, what kind of bartending experience do you have?” You asked pleasantly.

Mettaton did something. You weren’t sure what, but there was a shift in the air and where you had been mostly comfortable and relaxed in getting to know your new coworkers and magic trainers, suddenly you were tense and the urge to get Sans somewhere safe, or eliminate the threat, was almost overwhelming. You grit your teeth and forced the arm around Sans to stay relaxed, though you did pull him a tiny bit closer. Sans watched you curiously out of the corner of his eye.

“I’m a robot, darling, and Dr. Alphys was kind enough to give me permanent access to the internet,” Mettaton said demurely.

“I quizzed them both on drink recipes as part of their interview,” Quin waved you off, “We’ll have a practical demonstration before we open.”

“Speaking of opening,” You turned on her with a raised eyebrow, “What was that about being open more hours? You literally already live here, Quin.”

“And now we have more help, so it’s not an issue,” Quin rolled her eyes, “I figure I’ll start opening at noon instead of three, I can work with Mettaton until seven or eight, then you and Grillby can watch the bar until close. Does that sound alright?”

Mettaton was still doing the thing and it was almost painful to resist the urge to attack him to make it stop. You weren’t sure exactly what it was, but you knew he was doing something dangerous, something that could hurt you or Sans.

“That sounds fine, I suppose,” You tried not to sound as distracted as you felt, “You called me in early for training, right?”

“Yeah,” Quin’s face softened, “And I’m sorry about that, I’m sure you and Sans could use some more downtime.”

“Yeah, speaking of downtime, I was hoping you’d teach Sans to crochet or knit? So he has something to do while I’m at work?” You were dangling by the tips of your nails on the edge of the cliff of control.

Quin glanced from you to Mettaton and Grillby, and grinned at Sans, “I have a ton of yarn upstairs, want to come up with me and we can get you started?”

Sans shot you a look that implied he knew exactly what you were doing, and then smiled slightly at Quin, “sure, i’d appreciate it.”

You waited calmly as Quin lead Sans out of the room, then closed the door behind you.

And then, to your own surprise more than anyone else’s, you growled at Mettaton.

“Oh my, my, my,” Mettaton mused and the tense feeling dropped from the air, “Did you see them Grillby? I’m not sure if it was us not being a big enough threat, or lovely little Miss Quin's presence, but something kept them cool as a cucumber the whole time.”

“Whatever you were doing, I don’t appreciate it,” You said bluntly.

“Forgive Mettaton,” Grillby murmured, “You had to be tested.”

“What was he testing me for? Exactly?” You looked between them, crossing your arms.

“How far your instincts have gone, darling,” Mettaton sat back in the chair, crossing his legs and watching you intently, “I got the run down on mages from our dear king last night, Grillby of course is an old member of the guard.”

“Which makes him uniquely ideal to handle mages?” You still felt on edge, as though Mettaton had spent the past ten minutes playing with a gun instead of standing there harmlessly.

“I am old enough to have met mages previously,” Grillby sighed, “And we needed to test to where your instincts progressed.”

“Perhaps it would go quicker, and prevent Quin from walking in on a conversation I’m not allowed to explain, if you just started from the beginning?” You grumbled.

Mettaton and Grillby exchanged glances, and Grillby gestured to Mettaton.

“Oh very well,” Mettaton sighed, “Darling, before I was a robot, I was a ghost. Ghosts have a… unique relationship with magic, which makes me ideal to teach you about magic in general and test to see what magic is doing to you.”

“You were a ghost.” You nodded, as though that made sense, although to be fair your life recently didn’t make a lot of sense, “What, exactly, might magic be doing to me?”

“Mages in the past tended to… become slightly feral after their magic was unlocked. Magic... changes you to make you better able to use it. Until the changes are settled you will be less than... reasonable at times.” Grillby explained slowly, “There is a worry… with Sans being pregnant… that you would be worse than the others we-I have seen.”

“The reason you’re so agitated is because I prepared an attack without pulling you into an encounter,” Mettaton explained.

“I'm sorry, I'm being changed by magic and you're telling me I was only agitated over an-an encounter? What even is an encounter” You repeated dubiously.

“An encounter is how a monster fights, soul to soul,” Mettaton clarified, “Anytime a monster starts a fight, it becomes an encounter.”

“I feel like I would have noticed that, during the Underwar,” You said slowly.

“That wasn’t soul to soul.” Grillby shook his head, “That was body to body. Monsters can only pull one soul into an encounter at a time, it would have been suicide to have monsters try to fight a war with encounters.”

“And who can I pull into an encounter?” You asked curiously, “Or can I? Is it a monster thing, or a magic thing?”

“First you have to be able to see Souls, darling,” Mettaton beamed, “Then we’ll talk encounters.”

“And you’re going to teach me to see souls while you’re making mixed drinks?” You leaned up against the wall.

“Oh no, darling, I’ll be teaching you while you make mixed drinks, I get off shift before you, remember? No, Grillby will be the only teaching you and mixing drinks, though don’t forget that neither your friend, nor any of the customers, will be able to hear him.”

"And the magic?"

"There won't be major changes," Grillby assured you softly, "Some mages had their eyes changed, some their hair color. Monsters are made entirely of magic, humans are made entirely of... other stuff. Magic is simply making room in that other stuff."

"And making me wild?" You clarified.

"Only a little darling, you really have marvelous control," Mettaton assured you, "King Asgore said it will likely concentrate on Sans, since monsters are not always at their most rational when their mates are expecting, either."

"So... that's the thing where I've been keeping myself between Sans and any open doorways over the past couple of days?" You asked, though you were thinking back to what you'd been feeling when you found your front door unlocked. The unnatural panic, and how you'd almost ignored everything you knew about dealing with people who had broken in to make sure Sans was okay, and then how you hadn't wanted him out of the bedroom, where he was safe, until you'd checked the rest of the house.

Grillby and Mettaton exchanged glances.

"That sounds about right darling," Mettaton confirmed.

You nodded slowly, “Okay, just one more question then.”

“Yes?”

“Have I met you before, because you look really familiar and it’s driving me crazy,” You sighed. Metaphorically speaking, your hackles were no longer raised and you were slowly but surely relaxing.

“You may have heard of my movie, The Rectangle Affair?” Mettaton raised an eyebrow and you nodded slowly.

You’d more than heard of it, you’d seen it. You, Quin, and maybe four other people in the nation had watched it for reasons you’d usually watch a movie- the trailers were decent and you were bored. Thousands of other people had boycott the movie and nearly caused a riot because Mettaton had been in it. It was the first, and the last, movie to use monsters as anything but extras.

It was also one of Quin’s favorite movies, and you were pretty sure that played at least a small part in her hiring Mettaton.

“I’m familiar with it… You were, uh, slightly different…”

“The producers thought that having me play a female love interest would make for a slightly less intimidating film,” Mettaton said, glancing away from your face.

“Hm. It was good, a little dramatic for my tastes, but… you know, a good movie.” You shrugged uncomfortably.

“You don’t have to offer me platitudes darling,” Mettaton said wryly.

“It’s not a platitude. It was a decent movie and it should have done well,” You dug your heels in, “I’m not big on Romcoms myself, but Quin loved it and she watches those a fair amount… and I didn’t hate it, which puts it ahead of a ton of other romcoms. Not a truly cringe worthy moment.” You wish you could bring yourself to word it different but… you just weren’t that interested in Romcoms.

“Yes, well, I had hoped our meeting with humanity would be slightly different but… we work with what we have,” Mettaton sighed, “And what we have, darling, is you.”

“Yes,” You agreed, pulling away from the door, “You have me.”

~

“It’s not fun being sent out of the room like children, but I get the feeling that if they didn’t need me out, you would have been okay to stay, so i’m sorry for that.” Quin said blandly as she lead Sans upstairs.

“no! i mean, yeah, but it’s not quite like that,” Sans sighed, “they were pretty desperate to get me out of there, too.”

“Do you know why? Hi, by the way,” Quin spun abruptly on the stairs and offered Sans her hand, “I’m Quin, we haven’t been formally introduced and waiting on _____ to do it will see us dead of old age. It’s nice to meet you face to face.”

“i’m sans,” He shook Quin’s hand, “and, uh, same.”

“Wonderful. Do you know why we’ve been sent into the hallway like naughty schoolchildren?” Quin asked curiously, unlocking the door to her apartment and leading him in.

“i think mettaton might have been poking _____… metaphorically.” Sans shook his head, sticking his hands into the pockets of his shorts. He hadn’t felt self conscious in his tank top and shorts with you, but alone with just Quin, Sans was starting to wish he owned a t-shirt.

Quin seemed to consider several responses to that, before shrugging, “As long as no one dies, I suppose it’s okay. Have you ever crocheted or knit before?”

“i used to sew, in the underground…” Sans considered, “stuff like shirts, pants, coats…”

“Jackets by chance?” Quin asked distractedly.

“uh, yeah, jackets, too,” Sans looked at her oddly.

“Interesting. I sew, too, though I was always more of a cape person than a jacket person.” Quin lead Sans through her living room, “Stay here for a second? All my yarn and everything is in the bedroom.”

“i’ll stay here,” Sans blushed faintly.

Quin tossed him a distracted smile before disappearing in her bedroom. A few minutes later she reappeared, hauling a huge bag. Without a word she dumped it on the couch.

It was like watching a rainbow erupt out of a bag. Dark colors, light colors, soft colors, harsh colors, glittery colors, colors layered with shiny stuff.

Sans stared blankly at the pile of yarn.

“wow.” He said finally, “that’s… a lot of…”

“I know,” Quin said miserably, “I can’t stop myself.”

“you’re very prepared?” Sans offered.

Quin started poking through the yarn, “Prepared to clothe the world,” She sighed, “I can’t help myself, I see a new yarn and I just need it. I always have the… the one project...” She furrowed her brow and plunged her arm into the middle of the yarn balls, “The one project this or… or that yarn be perfect fo-There it is!” Sans jumped slightly as Quin, who had been getting quieter, suddenly yelled in excitement.

She pulled her arm out of the pile and emerged with a giant ball of multicolored yarn, “Here we go! This stuff is wonderful for beginners or when I want an easy yarn to work with. Do you mind the color? I think I have it in grey, too… and some other colors…” She had started digging in the pile again.

Sans looked at the proffered ball of yarn curiously. Its dominant color appeared to be purple, though there were shades of blue, green, yellow, and orange appearing and disappearing in random spots and in random amounts.

“no, i… i think i like this one,” Sans said, frowning slightly and reaching out to touch it lightly. It was even softer than it looked, more like down than its ropey appearance suggested.

Quin straightened and beamed at him, “Wonderful. Now...” She darted back into her bedroom, leaving Sans with a ball of yarn a little bigger than his head, and a rainbow pile of yarn.

“Here we are, this is the size hook and needles you’ll want with that. Would you prefer to try knitting or crocheting?” Quin held out a hook and a pair of knitting needles.

The far end of the hook, and both the points of the knitting needles, had been sharpened.

“i think crocheting,” Sans said slowly, glancing at the lethal looking needles.

Quin handed him the hook, “Sorry about the end, I’ve had a… couple of situations arise when I was crafting things, and I’ve found it’s always better to have some innocuous looking weapon around.”

“wouldn’t want to needle you at the wrong time,” Sans agreed, inspecting the crochet hook, “how do i do this?”

“Let’s go back downstairs,” Quin suggested, “Maybe they’ll be done with adult talk and we can start training.”

Sans considered Quin for a long moment, thinking about the conversation you’d had about becoming Asgore’s mage.

Then he smiled.

~

“Boo!”

Only years of practice kept you from showing the jump you felt. You rolled your eyes at Quin’s disappointed look and maintained your casual lean.

“It’ll never work.”

“Someday I’ll catch you by surprise, trust me,” Quin asserted, “Are we done talking? Shall we begin the torture?”

“Torture away,” You grinned at Sans as he settled a giant ball of yarn on the bar where you’d been leaning, “Hey there gorgeous.”

Sans’s entire face went blue and you grinned, a spike of thrill running down your spine at the reaction. You leaned over slightly and winked at him, “What’s a nice guy like you doing in a place like this?”

“knock it off,” Sans grumbled half heartedly, glancing to the side as the blue in his face went darker.

“I don’t know if I can,” You reached out and traced his jaw, then lightly gripped his chin and pulled him forward into a kiss, “You’re too cute.”

“Have they forgotten we’re here?”

“Shh, I’ve never seen _____ like this. I have to record and blackmail them later.”

You sighed and Sans turned to the bar to bury his face in his hands. You looked over at Quin, who had her phone in her hand and pointed at you, and shook your head, “You ruined it.”

“Technically Mettaton ruined it, I recorded it.”

“Darling, I don’t ruin anything. My words simply reminded them of the wonder that was me, standing here unappreciated.” Mettaton refuted.

The phone in the office began to ring.

You glanced over at Quin, and stopped, frowning, when you saw how pale and still she’d gone.

“Do… do you want me to get that?” You asked slowly when the phone rang a second time and she made no move to get it.

“No!” As pale as she was, Quin sounded angry, not scared. She set her shoulders and stormed past you like a warrior going to face a foe unparalleled in battle.

You watched her warily, glancing at the middle of the room where the silent Grillby and Mettaton watched. The three of you had moved out of the office after your talk, both to let Quin know you weren’t being secretive when she got back, and so you could start introducing stuff around the bar to them. They did not appear to know what was happening either.

“This is Quin’s Place, Quin speaking, we’re closed right now but-Oh,” Her cold tone warmed slightly, “You’re calling about the position? Yes! Yes it’s still available, I only posted it… Yes, please do... You can come by anytime after three, that’s when we open right now, and we’ll do an interview... Mm Hm... Yes, the listing did say that... Not unless they’re being disorderly... A resume would be good, but other than that, just yourself!... No, thank you!... Yes, see you soon.” Quin hung up, looking much better than before.

“Did you… hire another bartender, just now?” You asked curiously.

“Oh no, I set up an interview with a bouncer,” Quin walked out of the office, but you noticed as her eyes flickered to the front windows and her face tightened slightly.

“Quin, did something happen?” You worried.

“Yes, but it’s fine. I responded in a mature, adult way, and it’ll be fine.” She assured you, then clapped her hands, “So, training!”

Training was very simple for Quin. She convinced Sans to come sit by her at the computer, started him with a simple chain, and started adding Mettaton and Grillby into the computer system.

You, on the other hand, went over Quin’s organization, the most common drinks you made, where the kitchen was, where to find everything in the kitchen, and touched on the computer system since Quin hadn’t finished putting them in yet.

“Thankfully it’s pretty simple,” You assured them, “You set them a name, either their own or whatever if going to help you remember them, and add their drinks as they go. It’s pretty easy to keep an eye on the place, even when we get a little crazy, and Quin has never let someone walk out without paying, she has a sixth sense about it.”

“And if anyone gives you any shit about being monsters, tell them to leave,” Quincie called from the office.

“And, as my crass best friend stated, if anyone gives you an issues, tell them to get the fuck out.” You nodded.

“If I'm crass I learned it from you. Also, if they don’t leave, come get me. Or _____. Or whoever I hire to be our new bouncer. We’ll kick their asses.” Quin called out again.

“If you think you can handle it, handle it.” You met Grillby and Mettaton’s eyes seriously, “If it looks like it’s going to be an issue, don’t push. We don’t want you guys to get hurt, so no chances, alright?” You waited until both of them met your eyes and nodded, before relaxing, “Good, so it’s just after two-thirty, Quin will probably want to have you two make a few drinks just to get in the rhythm, and-”

Someone knocked on the glass door.

You leaned over so you could see behind Mettaton to the door, and spotted a nervous looking yellow dinosaur fidgeting and glancing off to the left.

You narrowed your eyes slightly, trying to place the monster, before realizing this had to be the famed Dr. Alphys.

“Is… is she here for the bouncer position?”

Chapter Text

You opened the door without prompting. Even just looking at her, you could sense how uncomfortable Alphys was feeling right then.

“Hello Doctor, is everything alright?” You asked with a welcoming smile.

“O-oh!” If anything, Alphys became even more nervous and she glanced convulsively to the right, “Y-yes, I’m so sorry! I was… I was going to… Uhm…”

“Hey.”

Who the fuck hated you this much?

With all the self control you could muster, you smiled down at Alphys, “Dr. Alphys, would you like to wait inside for a moment?”

Alphys shot a nervous look between you and Undyne, “It… it’s n-not going to get v-violent, r-right?”

“No,” You shook your head, “Just, ah, safer in general for you to wait inside, rather than out.”

Alphys considered for a moment, then you changed places. Alphys walked into Quin’s Place, and you walked out.

Undyne was leaning against the wall in the alley next to the bar. She was dressed differently than she had been yesterday, in a dark button up shirt and dark slacks. You walked to the mouth of the alley and looked at her.

Just looking at Undyne made you forget what you were going to say, the words tangled themselves in your head and then fled like a child from the dark.

“I, uh, saw you in there when we walked up and… figured you would prefer a little warning before I walked in.” Undyne said after a moment of you grasping for words.

“That… yeah, that was a good idea.” You closed your eyes for a moment and resisted the urge to rub your temples, “You’re here for the bouncer position, aren’t you?”

Undyne jammed her hands in her pockets and glanced away from your face, “Asgore had Grillby and Mettaton looking for ways to get close to you before we were anywhere near leaving your house. They both showed up after talking to your friend, and Asgore realized it might get her in trouble to hire monsters. Police don’t always show up to places who treat monsters well, as staff or customers.”

You grimaced, but nodded, acknowledging the truth in her words.

“Alphys was just gonna put up some cameras but… well, she saw the bouncer listing go up while she was checking her out, and we thought you might appreciate some more hands on protection.” Undyne shrugged uncomfortably.

“‘We’ as in you and Asgore, or Asgore and Alphys, or You, Asgore, and Alphys?” You tried to keep your tone as neutral as possible, but your stomach was clenching into knots. On one hand, you knew that having Undyne as a bouncer would guarantee any trouble started would end fast, she had fully earned her reputation on the battlefield. On the other hand, you were at Quin’s Place every day except Monday and Wednesday, and you weren’t sure you’d be able to handle seeing Undyne every day.

Of course, this could be a test from Asgore.

Even if it wasn’t a test, if you were going to fight for a revolution for monsters, you would almost definitely end up fighting at Undyne’s side, she’d been at the head of as many battles as she could manage in the Underwar. Was it better to figure out handling her presence in a peaceful, or a warring environment?

“Me’n Alphys.” Undyne still wasn’t looking at you, “I-we figured, she’s the only human in the entire world you wanted to… uh, stick close to,” Her eye darted down the street, “Enough to mention it to Asgore, so you… Nevermind, I don’t know what I was thinking. Let me just go grab Alphys and-”

“We have an anime themed drink list.” Your voice was stiffer than you meant it to be, and for the life of you, you weren’t sure how you managed to make that sound like a threat.

Undyne seemed equally confused, “Oh… okay?”

You gave up on control and sagged against the front of the building and rubbing your forehead, “For-for Alphys. If she wants to, uh, visit or… or spend time here, during your shift. If Quin hires you, I mean. It’s a specialty menu so I’d have to… We haven’t really had…” You rubbed harder as though it would stop the itching behind your eyes, “Fuck, uh, we put it away after the war, but it’s still in the, uh, the junk drawer so she can… There’s…”

“I can leave, it’s obviously putting a lot of stress on you, and I haven’t even interviewed, punk. You don’t have to… deal with me, I’ll have Alphys put cameras up and-”

You held up your free hand and Undyne went quiet.

“It is hard,” You admitted. You were all but holding onto the front of the bar for support and only the most stubborn parts of you were holding back all the pent up pain and anger, so you couldn't exactly try to say otherwise, “Everytime I see you, it’s like I’m standing in the field again. I don’t hate you, in any other world it would probably be pretty easy to be your friend, and that kind of makes it harder, too, but… But Quin is… she’s more than my best friend, you know? I had to be a parent, and Quin was usually there to step in as… as a big sister, for both of us when I needed her. You’re the strongest monster, save the king, and you proved it. If you can… if you can keep Quin safe…”

You felt a hand on your shoulder and moved your hand from your face to see Undyne watching you solemnly.

“You need a minute punk?” She asked quietly.

You’d already had a minute. Very slowly you pulled yourself back together until you were standing straight and could look Undyne in the eyes again. Undyne dropped her hand and took a step back to return the distance between you now that it looked like you were slightly less likely to break down.

“Just, one more thing,” Your tone was still grim, and you smiled a tiny bit to ease it, “That’s the second time you’ve called me punk, I have a name you know.”

Undyne nodded slowly, “_____?” She tried hesitantly.

“_____.” You confirmed.

“You want me to do the interview?” She confirmed.

You took a steadying breath, “Yeah, I want you to do the interview… Quin will probably love you, just don’t… don’t mention R-Remi, or how she died.”

Undyne nodded and, after another half second to finish collecting yourself, you turned around and beckoned for her to follow you.

You pasted a fake smile on and opened the door, and let Undyne in.

Then you got a good look at what had been happening in the bar since you were gone.

Quin and Mettaton were bent over a table with Alphys, to your surprise, and the three of them were speaking quietly but emphatically as Alphys scribbled in a notebook. Grillby had drifted over to a table where Sans had set the giant ball of yarn and was working on the third row of a long chain with a single minded focus that brought a real smile to your face. That smile grew into a grin when you realized that Grillby was taking advantage of Sans’s focus to take the end Sans had already done and curl it on his head like a small crown.

“_____?”

“Undyne?”

You looked at Quin, still grinning, and gestured at Undyne, still hovering at your shoulder, “I interviewed her as your assistant manager, it’s your turn.”

“You’re Undyne?” Quin bounced over, “It’s nice to meet you, Alphys was talking about you before we got, uh, distracted. Follow me to the office,” She lead Undyne back to the office.

You decided not to give Grillby’s game away by pulling Sans’s attention from his crocheting, and made your way to Alphys and Mettaton.

“Hello there, I’m _____, I’ve heard a lot about you Dr. Alphys,” You held a hand out to her.

“O-oh! Hello, yes I-i’ve heard about you, too!” Alphys shook your hand and you glanced down at what She, Mettaton, and Quin had been working on.

“Quin couldn’t find the original anime drink menu, could she?” You asked with a wry grin.

“She opened a drawer, looked in it, and said that she would remember the recipes,” Mettaton told you.

“Of course she did,” You snorted, walking around the bar to go rummage in the junk drawer. You found the drink menu, bright pink and covered in the image of a cat girl in various fighting poses, and took it over to Alphys.

“Oh my gosh!” Alphys accepted the menu from you with wide eyes and a bright grin, “It has Mew Mew all over it!”

“Yeah,” You couldn;t stop the grin that inched across your face, “Mew Mew was great when they were making it. The three of us were super disappointed when it ended, so we ended up making this menu... “ And put it away after the war.

“The three of you?” Mettaton prodded gently and Alphys shot him a horrified look.

Your grin faded slightly, and you reached out to tap one of the Mew Mew figures, “My sister, she drew that. I’m not sure she drew anything but Mew Mew for about a year and a half when the first season came out… and then of course she started drawing character inserts of all of us instead…” You snorted and Alphys’s horrified expression faded to one of curiousity.

It was hard talking about Remi, or thinking about Remi. It wasn’t that you didn’t want to share the memories, but they hurt, like a dull knife being thrust from your chest from the inside. In moments like this, though, it was slightly easier. The drawings on the drink menu were a reminder that she had been real, that she had lived (not nearly long enough, but she had lived), and that she’d left an impact.

“Sh-she really liked Anime then?” Alphys asked quietly.

“Hell yeah she did,” You snorted, “Mew Mew was a… a family activity with her, Quin, and me, and then Fullmetal Alchemist after that, but everything else was free game. I lost track of all the series she watched…”

Anime had been your biggest splurge. You’d bought Remi DVD sets for Christmas, her birthday, even Easter and Halloween a couple of times. Some of them had been ridiculous, others had been weird beyond explanation, but they made her happy, and that meant it was always worth it.

“She s-sounds nice,” Alphys offered hesitantly.

“She was,” You murmured, smiling faintly, “She was a dork, and she did get into trouble, but she was the best…”

You shook your head to clear it of happy, sad memories and smiled reassuringly at Alphys and Mettaton. The door to the office opened and Undyne and Quin came out chatting softly. You told yourself to act as normally as you could manage, then froze as the window behind you shattered. You felt like you were turning in slow motion as you watched a flaming bottle sail past you towards Sans, who hadn’t even looked up.

You reached a hand out, green flames appearing at the tips of your fingers, you weren’t sure what exactly you were going to do, but Grillby solved the problem by jumping cleanly over Sans and the table and seizing the bottle from the air.

You had a split second to make a decision, and as you turned you made eye contact with Undyne. You couldn't begin to guess what she saw in your eyes, but you saw her bodily place Quin in the office and turn her attention to the others before you were racing out the door after a quickly retreating figure. Your magic was racing through your veins like adrenaline, and you found yourself catching up with the retreating man a lot faster than usual.

Part of you was curious about that, wondering if it was a permanent change your magic was making or if it was a spell of sorts.

Most of you, though, was just pissed. You reached out when you got close enough and reached out to hook your fingers down the back of the man’s shirt, then, using your momentum and his, you swung him around into the front wall of a building.

The man ‘oophed’ and his head bounced off of the brick wall. With no resistance you slung him into the wall two more times, dropped him, picked up his left leg, and started dragging him back along the road.

You considered whether Quin would have called the cops yet, and how long it might take them to respond. You needed to get some answers, answers you might not get from the police after you turned this guy over, but the thought of Sans in a room with humans carrying guns made you incredibly reluctant to waste any time.

The man groaned and you diverted into a particularly dirty alleyway and dropped his leg to haul him to his feet.

“Wha-what the fuck?” He demanded rubbing his eyes with his wrist and trying to scramble away from you, “Fuck, my head…”

“My name is _____,” You said pleasantly, snagging his arm, twisting it around behind his back, and shoving him into the dirty back wall, “You may have noticed me while throwing a molotov through the window of my best friend’s bar?”

He spit and it landed on the wall next to his face. You grimaced at him.

“I know who you are, you dirty monster lover,” He hissed.

You pushed against his arm slightly, shifting the grip from uncomfortable to painful, “Hey now, watch who you call dirty, alright? What’s your name man?”

“Fuck You,” He hissed.

“Well, Mr. You, we have a very simple situation on our hands,” You maintained the pleasant facade even as you pushed harder on his arm, eliciting a groan, “You can answer my questions and I’ll escort you back to my friends bar, and the police, or you can keep being rude and I’ll go back alone to tell them you got away.”

“And you’ll, what, beat the shit out of me and leave me to your monsters afterwards?” He grumbled.

“Oh no, you dear, sweet, naive child... if I left you with monsters they might heal you and let you go. No, no, no, I’ll kill you and just stick your body with the other bodies.” You told him cheerfully.

He stilled and the one eye you could see focused on you, “You wouldn’t, you only kill in self defence…”

“I’m not sure who told you that, but that was the first time,” You admitted, “Goodness gracious was that traumatizing, and it went straight to my poor little head. The first few were self defence, the others not so much, and of course,” You twisted his wrist when you noticed he was trying to inch towards his back pocket, “There’s this good friend of mine, I think you might even know him, that I’m planning on giving very special treatment. Robbie? Oh he’s going to be in a world of hurt,” You giggled, aiming for three year old girl in a horror movie, “My friend Robbie and I are going to have so much fun… although now I’ve told you I might just have to kill you anyway.”

“My fuckin name, you psycho, is Alan. Not that it matters, you must think you’re some really hot shit if you think you’re gonna be able to touch Robbie while he’s got Dex on his side,” The newly revealed Alan scoffed.

“Dex?” You raised an eyebrow, “Is that a little friend of yours? Tell me about Dex, sweetie. Is he the big bad boogieman?” Your voice dropped, “Is he the one who was in my house? Because I have to tell you, Alan, whether that was you, Dex, Robbie, or anyone involved in this ridiculous bit of shit, I’m going to take a long time seeing how long I can keep someone alive. I was not happy about that.”

“You think you’re tough, but everyone knows you’re just talk,” Alan sneered at you, “No one is really scared of you. We’re going to kill your human friend, we’ll torture her until she can’t scream anymore, and maybe she’ll learn better than to hire animals for jobs people are supposed to do before she dies. Then we’re gonna get all those monsters you love so much in contracts. We’ll show them how a real Master treats his monster… Not the skeleton, though. Dex was rather upset with Robbie for losing a contract, and Robbie was feeling all sorts of bad after seeing you, all those old emotions you know? We’re going to just fuck that little bitch until he’s a mindless little doll who can’t do anything but what he’s told, and you’re going to watch the whole thing, then, we’re gonna dust him right there in front of you, in fact we might wait to kill your friend so we can kill them together.”

You shifted your grip slightly and reached around so you could cover Alan’s mouth.

“I didn’t like that,” You told him matter of factly, “It upset me a great deal. I’d even go as far as to say that royally pissed me off .” Your nails dig into the skin around his mouth for a moment until you managed to reign yourself back in, “I learned something in the last week, Alan, would you like to know what that is?”

Alan made a faint noise.

Your magic surged just beneath your skin and you tightened your hand around Alan’s mouth, resting all of your weight against him, “I learned that the old saying ‘Kill them with Kindness’ has a lot more real world applications than I thought it did. Goodbye, Alan.”

You thought Fire. You thought of the hottest, most blistering fire you could imagine, and everywhere your skin touched Alan fire erupted.

He started screaming, his voice muffled just enough behind your hand as green flames licked over him. You didn’t let the flames die out until there was nothing left of Alan but the ashes that covered the front of you, and by that time even the sickening smell of human flesh cooking had faded from the air.

With a deliberate slowness you brushed your shirt and jeans off as much as you could, noting idly that you were not just covered in soot and ash, but in char marks. At some point you’d also burnt your shoes entirely off, and the bottoms of your jeans were twisted, black, denim. Still brushing the ash away, you walked out of the alley, and started back down the street to Quin’s Place.

There was a police cruiser sitting in front of Quin’s Place, and you could see two officers looking at the broken glass and taking notes. When you walked in Quin and Sans both rushed you, but you held your hands out, not wanting them to get covered in ash and soot.

“what happened to you? are you okay?” Sans demanded.

“I’m not hurt,” You assured him, and glanced at Quin, “The others?”

“The officers took their testimonies and I told them to go home,” Quin sighed, “I, well, I was a little worried someone else might show up. Did you catch him?”

“He’s gone.” You said flatly, “I don’t think he’ll be coming back.”

“Hi, I’m Officer Chase, can I ask what makes you say that?” One of the police officers asked, coming over while her partner continued surveying the damage.

“I chased him pretty hard, he seemed really burned out by the whole affair,” You told her evenly.

“I’m going to need your testimony,” Officer Chase lead you slightly away from Sans and Quin, even though Sans looked desperate to grab you and never let go. You felt your hackles rise at being lead away from him, but forced yourself not to react.

You were doing a lot of that lately.

“From the beginning, please?” Officer Chase requested.

“Yeah, uhm…” You almost rubbed your face, then remembered what your hands were covered with, “So I work here, uhm, I’m kind of the Assistant Manager-”

“What do you mean ‘Kind of the Assistant Manager’?”

You chewed on your tongue for a second, “Well… I do Assistant Manager stuff, but technically my job title is ‘Bad Ass’.” Officer Chase did not appear impressed. “It’s… I’m employed by my best friend she let me choose and I… Nevermind. I was doing an interview with a potential bouncer-”

“Does this place get enough trouble you think you need a bouncer?” Officer Chase asked, writing in her little notebook.

“Not normally, but Quin’s been expanding and decided it was prudent,” You watched her with a raised eyebrow until she looked up and gestured with her pen for you to continue. You resisted the urge to roll your eyes, “Anyway, I did an initial interview and everything was good, so I sent her to be interviewed with Quin. I was talking with a couple of people, and I heard the window break behind me. I saw a flaming bottle go past my head, but one of our new bartenders, Grillby, caught it and-”

“Grillby would be the flaming monster?” Officer Chase flipped back a few pages and read over something.

“Yeah, that’s Grillby. He caught the bottle and I ran out the door after the guy.”

“Can you describe the suspect?”

“I didn’t see him from the front,” You warned and she nodded, waving for you to go on, “Right, well, he was about half a foot taller than me, maybe? Average build, white guy with dark hair, I’m not sure if it was really black or brown. The angle was weird but I did see his eyes, or one of them when he was looking behind him, they were dark, but not brown, more blue or grey.”

“Gotcha,” Chase nodded, “Thank you, what happened next?”

“I chased him a ways down the street, you might be able to find another witness but there’s pretty much no one out at this time of day so I don’t know how many others, if any, saw us…”

“Yeah this is a bit of a problem neighborhood that way, you could get away with murder at the right time of day,” Chase tsked, “To be honest, it’s pretty smart of your friend to hire a bouncer. Did he say anything?”

“He said fuck a lot,” You shrugged, “Nothing of any real worth.”

“They rarely do,” Chase sighed, “What happened to your clothes?”

“We, uh, ducked into an alleyway,” You considered very carefully what to say next, it was ridiculous but you hated lying to people in authority. It wasn’t so much a disrespect thing, but an unfounded paranoia that they knew you were lying, “A lot happened fast. He threw a molotov, I got pissed, trash got lit on fire, I got a little lit on fire, and then I put the fire out.”

“You’re sure it was out?” Officer Chase’s partner asked.

You twitched, you hadn’t seen him walk up, probably because Chase had positioned you, without you realizing, with your back to him.

“Yeah, I made sure it was out,” You nodded, grimacing, “It felt like it was my responsibility, you know what they say ‘Only you can prevent fires’.”

“I’m pretty sure they only say that about forest fires, but the city appreciates your diligence.” Chase’s partner clapped you on the shoulder, then made a dismayed face when your shirt sleeve disintegrated under his hand.

“No worries,” You gave him a faint grin, “I had my shoulder in the fire for a bit, I was waiting for that.”

He laughed, “Well, Unless Chase has more questions, I think that’s all we need. Your boss has our cards if anything else happens, and don’t hesitate to call if you remember something you might have forgotten. Arson is a serious matter, and we don’t let some punk trying to burn people to death go easily.”

He and Chase nodded to you, shook Quin’s hand (Sans retreated behind her slightly, and you were glad to see that he trusted her enough to think she’d protect him, but it burned that he thought he might need her to protect him), and left.

Quin and Sans both moved for you again, and you backed away holding your hands up.

“No,” You said and mentally kicked yourself when your voice wavered, “I don’t… Can I borrow your shower really quick Quin?”

“are you hurt? i’m not worried about a little burnt garbage, you scared me so-” Sans came closer and you darted around him, a panicky feeling rising in your chest.

“Sans, No!”

Sans turned slowly and he looked like you’d slapped him. Your stomach dropped to your toes.

“Sans, love, I’m so sorry, I’m fine, but this… I don’t want any of this burnt garbage near you, please sweetheart.”

“_____.” You met Quin’s eyes and saw understanding. She knew, she probably knew the moment you walked in the door that you’d killed that asshole. “Go take a shower, hun. I’ve got some of the clothes you left last time you slept over, still, I’ll grab them for you, okay?”

You nodded and carefully walked back to the stairs. You glanced back once and it took everything you had not to go to Sans. He was looking away from you and his eyes were dim. Instead you raced up the stairs to shower so you could touch Sans without a single bit of Alan going near your mate.

You scrubbed as thoroughly, and as quickly, as you could. You distantly heard hammering, and the door opened at one point, you knew it was probably Quin but she didn’t say anything. Finally you were clean and in clean clothes (Your burned ones were in an old grocery bag Quin had been storing under the sink).

You opened yourself to your magic so you could find Sans and then darted out into the front room where he and Quin were sitting and scooped him up, relaxing infinitesimally as you were finally able to reassure yourself he was okay.

“That molotov was thrown right at you,” You whispered, holding him tightly, “If Grillby wasn’t there…”

Sans reached up hesitantly, and when you didn’t turn him away this time he brushed your hair behind one ear and wrapped his arms around his neck, “i didn’t even see what happened, before i knew what was going on you were out the door. you scared the life out of me.”

A gentle hand pressed into your lower back and propelled you forward and to the couch. Quin made sure you and Sans were sat down before stepping into her kitchen.

You watched her put the kettle on, and you couldn’t stop yourself from running a hand in circles on Sans’s back, thinking of Alan’s threat to the both of them. Sans buried his face in the crook of your neck and his grip on you tightened slightly.

“What happened?” Quin asked, placing three mugs of tea on her coffee table and sitting down next to you and Sans.

“It’s… there’s a lot I can’t really explain,” You fumbled, “It’s… it’s really complicated and-”

“Is this about you joining a monster revolution?” Quin asked curiously.

You choked and felt Sans grin against your neck.

“Sans,” You admonished, “Asgore, I mean King Asgore, said not to tell her until we were moving forward with things.”

“no, he told you that you couldn’t tell her. he never said anything to me, and you know quin better than he does, hell i know quin better than he does now, and i was pretty sure telling her was a safe bet.”

You stroked his spine, smiling, “Sans, I know Quin wouldn't tell, but I was trying to be respectful of the king’s wishes.”

“You were respectful, Sans was the one who told me, now that we’ve established that I’m in the know, what happened,” Quin urged.

“How much, exactly, did you tell her?” You murmured softly to Sans.

“that you’re a mage, and that asgore was having a revolution that you were gonna kidnap her for.”

“I wasn’t going to kidnap her,” You protested, slightly louder than you meant to.

“You were going to show up and take me somewhere I didn’t know, with people I didn’t know, with no intention of returning me. That sounds like a kidnapping to me.” Quin pointed out.

You opened your mouth, then decided to ignore them. The smile faded from your face as you remembered what they had been originally asking, and what you now had to tell them.

You took a deep breath and let it sink in that you’d killed a man by holding him close and burning him until nothing remained. Gently you let go of Sans, stood, sat on the coffee table so you were facing him and Quin, gently nudging the tea aside, and considered what you were going to say.

“He didn’t actually get away,” You started, “He… His name was Alan, I caught up with him and dragged him into an alley. He worked for some guy named Dex… I guess Robbie works for this Dex, too. He threatened… He said…” You took another deep breath and clasped your hands in front of you, focusing just on them, “He threatened you and Sans, said he’d contract Grillby, Mettaton, and Alphys… and probably BP and Undyne and anyone else they’ve seen with me.”

“Why are they focusing on you?” Quin asked worriedly.

“I don’t think they are,” You shook your head, “I, uh, it sounded like…” It sounded like they were after you because you had Sans’s contract, rather because you had taken Sans’s contract from Robbie, but if you said that Sans would try to take all the blame on himself when it was in no way his fault, “It sounded like I pissed them off by threatening Robbie.”

Quin sighed heavily, “That… that child,” She growled, “If I had a dime for every time you threatened him I’d sell the bar and go live on my own private island. I can’t believe him, throwing molotovs, making threatening calls, doing ridiculous-”

“Threatening calls?” You interrupted, looking up sharply.

Quin shook her head, “You haven’t finished. He threatened us, and then what?”

Your eyes fell again. Alan had been right, you’d never killed anyone for any reason other than self defense before, but even just thinking of what he had threatened to do caused a little ball of icy hatred to form in your stomach.

“I burned him to death with magic,” Your hands clenched tightly around each other, “I-I held him against a wall and summoned fire until there was nothing left.”

Silence fell. It screamed in your ears like the voices of the damned.

“He threatened us, and you killed him?” Quin asked neutrally.

“Yeah,” Your voice caught and you winced.

“What did he threaten to do?”

It didn’t escape your notice that Sans was totally silent, you couldn't bring yourself to look up at him.

“Bad things.”

“_____, specifically what did he threaten to do?” Quin pressed.

“Quin, you don’t want to know.”

“You need to tell someone, or the words will fester like poison. So I do want to know,” Quin pressed firmly.

“Quin-”

“_____.”

“Quin, I don’t-”

“You can’t keep it bottled up.”

“Quin, really-”

“_____, listen, you-”

“He threatened to torture you Quin,” You snapped, “He threatened to torture you until you couldn't even scream anymore, and then he threatened to rape Sans until he lost his mind, and then kill you both in front of me. I was terrified, and I was angry, and I hated him more than I’ve ever hated anyone in that moment, so I murdered him in cold blood. I didn’t flinch, I didn’t blink, I didn’t move until there was nothing left of him but the stains on my clothes and I’d do it again in a heartbeat to keep you two safe. Hell, I probably will do it again because I signed up to be the front man in a whole new war,” You were shaking, and you couldn’t stop. Sans still hadn’t said anything, and why would he? It was one thing to be told you’d killed people before, it was another thing entirely to realize you’d walked in covered in the ashes of a man you’d killed. A shaky, hysterical laugh wrenched it’s way out of your throat, “Not a big deal though, I’ve been a murderer since I was fourteen, so it’s just a black mark on a black record, a-”

A hand covered your mouth and you went quiet. Not because it was really blocking your speech, Sans’s hand was rather thin being bones, but because he’d used his other hand to lift your chin and make you look at him.

“you aren’t a murderer.”

You turned your eyes away and the hand covering your mouth fell, “The general definition of a murderer is someone who kills people, Sans, and I do.”

Sans pulled your face back towards him and shook his head. Slowly, like he was the murderer confronting an innocent, he reached out and tapped you lightly on your chest.

“i know you, and i know you are not a murderer. not all murderers kill, and not everyone that has killed is a murderer.” He told you sincerely.

You stared at him in disbelief.

“i know you,” Sans said again, “i love you.”

You were surprised by Quin standing up, though you were slightly less surprised when she pulled you into a tight hug.

“You are not a murderer.” She reaffirmed, “The world has been very unfair to you, but you’re still a good person.”

Hesitantly you hugged her back, “Thanks Quin,” You whispered, unable to push past the knot in your throat to speak any louder.

“Sans?”

“quin?”

“Do me a favor and take them home?” Quin asked, tightening her hold on you, then passing you off into an equally tight embrace from Sans, “I know there are things they won’t let you do, but maybe put on a movie and cuddle for a bit?”

“Quin, we can’t leave you-” You started to protest.

“I put up a tarp, and Officer Doyle, that’s Officer Chase’s partner, said he would come back to watch until I could get a window repair guy in.” Quin said firmly, but with a soft smile, “You’ll feel better in your own house.”

You would, you’d feel a lot better in your own home with a whole new set of locks for both doors, and maybe door chains as well, but…

“You should come with us, U-Undyne said police aren’t always the best with monster friendly businesses.” You mentally cursed yourself for the stutter, the moment in which you’d almost managed to forget what all was associated with Undyne. You cursed yourself mostly because you knew Quin had caught it.

“I have to be here for the window repair guy,” Quin said gently, “I was lucky he was free this afternoon, and Officer Doyle seems like a nice enough guy. If he doesn’t show up, by chance, I promise I’ll come right over.”

“After you text me, so I can meet you halfway.” You compromised.

Quin considered, then nodded, “Acceptable, now go home and put on something happy.”

“we will,” Sans said solemnly.

You held him tight.

He and Quin were… a blessing. A relief. More than you could ever have asked for.

With much reluctance you looped the leash (which Sans had taken out of his pocket before putting back on) around your wrist and held Sans’s hand.

Leaving Quin’s apartment and going down the stairs, you got a good look at the tarp Quin had pulled up as a temporary fix and made a face, “That is possibly the ugliest shade of grey in existence.”

“isn’t it supposed to be white?” Sans asked curiously.

You snorted, “Yeah, it was, once.”

“huh,” Sans glanced back at it, “once?”

“Yeah, but Quin uses that tarp on the rare occasion one of our regulars passes out in the building.” You grinned.

“that’s what it looks like after people sleep in it?” You held the door open for San and followed him out. To your surprise, Officer Doyle was waiting outside in his cruiser. He gave both of you a jaunty wave as you left.

“No,” You returned Officer Doyle’s wave, “That’s what it looks like when Quin rolls them into it, drags both of them outside, and then brings just her tarp back inside.”

“she just leaves them out there?” Sans asked with a small grin.

“Nah, we’ve got a list of people to call for all our regulars, and there’s a bunch of scary guys who owe Quin favors… today was the first time Quin’s ever had a vandal.”

Sans snorted and silence lapsed between you, not the screaming silence of early, but a more comfortable, contented silence as you just focused on Sans, and nothing and no one (especially not people that you could feel under your hands start to-NO! Sans, just Sans) else. After a few moments of this you felt something, like the softest brush of down against what you were starting to recognize as your soul.

“Sans?” You asked curiously, “What are you doing?”

“holding your hand and walking?”

A frown crossed your face, “No, I meant,” You glance around, the sidewalks were empty save for a couple walking away from the two of you, discussion something intently, “I meant a soul thing, I felt something.”

Sans frowned for a moment and held a hand against his chest thoughtfully, then his hand lowered slightly.

“oh,” He said in relief, “it was just the baby, they were worried about you.”

Your brain stalled.

Chapter Text

You sat on the floor in front of your front door maintaining, as best you could, a calm expression as Sans quietly explained what he knew about monster pregnancies, and skeleton pregnancies in particular. It had been difficult waiting to talk about the strange brush against your soul until you got home, but you couldn’t put off getting new locks, so you had stopped at the store on your way, and when you got gotten back you had tried to convince Sans to sit on the couch, but he insisted on staying right next to you on the floor. So, there the both of you sat, with the door open while you replaced your doorknob and deadbolt and Sans explained what he had learned about pregnancy through osmosis.

For skeleton monsters, there was obviously no womb or any other inside bits with which to provide protection or to hide the formation of the little soul, so it hid inside Sans’s chest, near his own soul, and in time you would be able to see it as a little ball of magic. When this little ball of magic got too big to hide in San’s chest, it would drop down from his ribs and that was your sign that the baby was coming soon. It was also when Sans would be at his most vulnerable.

For most monsters, the only interaction the ‘father’ parent got with their child before they were born was what you had experienced earlier, the featherlight brush on your soul. It happened for most monsters pretty much on conception, and was the monster parents’ first sign that they had succeeded in conceiving. Sans confessed he had been worried when you hadn’t admitted to feeling anything before today.

He also told you that at some point all of his offensive magic would become available to you, and any defensive magic you were capable of would be available to him, although it would be difficult after, if not impossible, for him to access offensive magic or you to access Defensive magic until after the baby was born.

You sat quietly for a moment, processing this as you made sure the new lock was interacting correctly with the doorframe.

“If you’re ever worried about something, like me not feeling Seriff’s soul brushes, when other monsters would, tell me. We’ll ask Toriel, or Asgore, or anyone who might know why and make sure everything is okay,” You leaned over and kissed Sans on the head.

“i will, you’re right, it’s better we talk about this stuff,” Sans nodded solemnly, “and speaking about talking about things, seriff?”

“Oh,” You blushed, you hadn’t realized you’d said Seriff instead of ‘the baby’ or ‘the little soul’, “I was, uhm, looking up font names this morning, since that’s something you and Papyrus both have going, and I… it was on there, I’ve been going through them in my head, I guess Seriff just slipped out.”

“hmm, so is seriff your favorite?” Sans asked, leaning against your side as you finished tightening the screws in the doorknob and raised your arms to start on the deadbolt.

“Not really, it sounds more like a last name than a first name,”  You admitted, “I didn’t mean to be looking at names without you, but I was up pretty early this morning and didn’t want to wake you…”

“how did you look names up without your phone?” Sans asked with genuine curiosity.

You checked the deadbolt against the hole in the doorway, “I woke up last night and couldn't get back to sleep, so I looked up names on my phone, and then I got up and started writing down ones that seemed interesting for you to look at and then…” You blushed again and shook your head, “I was playing around with some of them, pretending to talk to someone-to them while I was baking.”

Sans snuggled further into your side as though trying to maximise the contact he had with you, “that’s cute.”

“It’s dorky,” You grumbled, feeling your face getting hotter and hotter.

“what other names were you considering? besides seriff?” Sans prodded.

“Oh, uh, well there are a bunch…” You screwed up your face thoughtfully as you tightened the screws in the new deadbolt, “Lemme see… There was Arial, Lucidia, Roman, Onyx, Verdana, Georgia, Cambria… Lora, Cooper, Carver… that’s all I can remember off the top of my head.”

“huh,” Sans mused, “that’s definitely a variety of font names you’ve collected.”

“There’s more,” You admitted, standing slowly and helping Sans to his feet, “There’s a ton of fonts out there. Is it a family thing, or a skeleton thing? Or just coincidence?”

“both, technically, our family were the only skeleton monsters in the underground,” Sans reached out and locked and unlocked the deadbolt, “what brought this on?”

You scowled and shut the door, double checking the locks and their hold, “Those guys, Robbie, Alan, and the third one… Dex, I think they broke into the house yesterday. I wasn’t sure I hadn’t just left the door unlocked, but I felt someone here, and while they didn’t do anything it’s better safe than sorry.”

“is it because of me? are those guys after you and quin because of me?”

Your soul ached at the hollowness in his voice, “Maybe that’s what they’ll tell anyone who asks, but Robbie hates me Sans. He’s hated me for a long time, and I’m sure it would have been just a matter of time until he came after me.”

“but if you hadn’t stuck your neck out for me-”

“Sans, I never would have left you with Robbie, even if BP hadn’t told me you were missing, or had a little brother who needed you. Robbie hates me, and the feeling is mutual I assure you. Besides, you never would have been in that position if not for me.” You reached down and laced your fingers with Sans’s, locking both deadbolt and door handle before leading him to the couch.

“what do you mean? you didn’t have anything to do with robbie stalking me and forcing me into a contract.” Sans frowned at you.

“But I did in a way,” You sat down on the couch and rubbed your forehead, “I’ve honestly lost track of what I’ve told you and I’ve only got a bare idea of what you saw in my soul, so if I repeat something I’ve told you before, forgive me. When R-Remi was twelve she told me she had a boyfriend, which wasn’t such a big deal because she was a cute kid and she was already becoming a beautiful woman, and twelve was right around the time I started to look at other people, so I figured it would be fine. Until she brought him home… It was Robbie, and on top of being way too old for a twelve year old, he was a worthless, useless, piece of-” You bit the inside of your cheek hard, “Well, you know. I was never going to be okay with someone my age dating my baby sister, but I didn’t react well to Robbie. We were in the same classes together through most of our younger years, and in High School he was the lowest of the low. When I saw him I just… lost my temper. Maybe if I’d kept it things would have turned out differently for all of us, but… I yelled, Robbie left, Remi and I fought, our first really big fight, and… they kept dating.”

“Why would you chase him out?!”

“He’s too old for you, he's in school with me, a guy my age has no right dating a twelve year old, little bird!”

“I’m not a little bird, I’m not a little kid, I’m practically an adult and it’s not your job to chase my boyfriend out of the house!”

“Yeah, well I am an adult and as your older sibling and guardian, it is actually my job to chase off worthless creeps like that!”

“I like Robbie! He’s nice, and sweet, and he makes me laugh and I’m going to keep dating him, whatever you say!”

“You are not, and that’s final!”

“Why are you trying to ruin this for me? Stop trying to control my life!”

“Little bird, please, I’m not trying to control your life I-”

“Stop. Calling. Me. Little Bird. I’m not a kid anymore.”

“Maybe if he’d been a good boyfriend things would have turned out better for all of us, but he wasn’t.” You let go of Sans’s hand and leaned forward, resting your forearms on your legs, “He was controlling, obsessive, manipulative, emotionally abusive, and Remi thought he hung the stars. I spent every moment trying to convince her he didn’t and… and I watched my little sister drift away. I went from her best friend to someone she lived with who constantly tried to ruin her life.”

“i saw… that you were sad. you...” Sans trailed off quietly and after a few minutes you started talking again.

“When Remi was fourteen I walked in on her watching Mew Mew Kissy Cutie and crying. She asked if it was too late, if I hated her…” A lump formed in your throat.

“you couldn't hate her if she destroyed the whole world.” Sans said with certainty.

You half smiled at him, “Yeah, exactly… We… We patched things up, and she let me help her undo as much as I could of what Robbie had done to her, the manipulation, the emotional abuse… it left its scars, but she was okay, she’d broken up with him, and then…” Your eyes darkened, “And then he came back. He, uh, got past me to Remi, and tried to convince her to run away with him, tried to tell her that I was the one manipulating her, not letting her go. He painted himself as an injured hero unable to slay the terrible, despicable, dragon who refused to let the princess from the tower…”

“that had to be hard on remi,” Sans noted, watching you close.

“She hit him. Punched him square in the mouth and said if he ever called me names again she’d rip out his heart and give it to me as an apology gift.”

Sans’s whole body turned as he looked at you incredulously. You shrugged, “I was touched. The kid watched a lot of Anime, that stuff get’s incredibly violent sometimes. Not that she would ever hurt him. She made me have a funeral for a ladybug I stepped on once, and she cried.”

“Wait,” Sans held a hand up, “sidetrack, was she wearing a black dress and cloak, and crying over a little hill of dirt in the backyard?”

It was your turn to turn your whole body to stare incredulously at Sans, “Was that in my soul? What impact could that have possibly had on me?”

Sans reached forward to steal one of your hands, “‘no life is too small to make an impact’ is one of the pillars of your personality,” He told you softly.

You opened your mouth and looked down at your joined hands. It was remarkably difficult to think when Sans looked at you like…

Like…

Like someone who had just seen the stars for the first time.

“I… I don’t remember what I was saying,” You admitted.

“remi offered you robbie’s heart,” Sans prompted.

“Right. Right... Well Robbie didn’t take it so well, said I’d twisted her mind. Stole her debit card, took a bunch of stuff from me, stabbed me again, and split. We managed to get the card deactivated before he was able to take out more the $400, but he was gone without a trace after that… until now.”

“he stabbed you?! again?!”

“Only a little bit, it was how he got in the house in the first place. He was more interested in whining, but I scared him by trying to tackle him and he lashed out with the knife., I’ve been hurt worse,” You promised, “Anyway, to summarize how all of this is my fault and not yours in the slightest, Robbie hates me and the feeling is very mutual, Robbie reappeared after years to contract a monster. He told you, himself, that he chose you because you reminded him of someone he hated.”

“that doesn’t mean it was you,” Sans pointed out.

You raised an eyebrow at him, “You were an older sibling, working hard in a not strictly legal job to support your younger sibling, who you adore, and are fiercely protective of.”

Sans didn’t have a response to this. He gently withdrew his hand from yours and looked down at both his hands with a frown, seeing something that you couldn’t.

‘See?’ The voice in the back of your head mocked you, ‘He knows the truth and now he hates you.’

You hated that voice, hated every doubt in your mind it niggled and picked at. You were certain that Sans loved you but no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t manage to say anything else, even Sans’s name. You couldn’t even move, you were paralyzed by your own doubts and depression.

Until you saw the look on Sans’s face as he continued to inspect his hands. A dark look that was slowly becoming more and more lost.

You still couldn't speak, couldn’t silence the dark doubts that would likely haunt you forever, but you could quiet his for a moment.

Very slowly, so he could draw away if he wanted, you took both Sans’s hands and turned him around to face you.

“it’s not so terrible, being hated because i’m like you,” A smile tried to struggle across his face, but he couldn't quite manage it, “i… just don’t know how you can stand to touch me sometimes.”

You kept hold of both his hands and slowly raised them up to your lips, pressing a kiss to the warm bone.

You regretted reminding Sans of the days, few they may have been, contracted to Robbie, and of reminding him of the days before that. You pulled his hands apart and held his left hand in your right, and kept his right hand held up in your left. You pressed a kiss to his palm, which was more solid than what you had seen of human skeletons in pictures, then pressed a kiss to the carpal bones that made up his wrist. You kissed your way up his arm, up the vertebrae in his spine that made up his neck, and then kissed his blue flushed cheek. Then you repeated the action with his left arm, and pressed your forehead against his.

“why?”

“Because I love you. I love you in ways that don’t always make sense. I love you because I fell in love with you, but I love you because I chose to fall and stay there. I love you because you’ve seen my soul, and I love you because I’ve seen yours. I love you because you love Papyrus, I love you because you don’t like getting out of bed in the morning. I love you. If someone told me I’d never be able to see the stars again if I wanted to stay with you, I would never see a single star again. If you told me you never wanted to see me again, I’d tell the moon how much I loved you, and still did, because you would have taken the sun and the stars with you.”

Sans was watching you with a dazed expression and you let go of his hands to cradle his face and kiss him again.

“i never want to say goodbye to you,” Sans whispered.

“Then don’t,” You proposed, “Stay right by my side forever, and I’ll stay by yours.”

Sans looked at you consideringly for a long moment, then took your arms by the wrist and tugged at you until the two of you were tangled up on the couch in a position that shouldn't have been comfortable, but was.

“forever,” He said firmly, “starting tonight.”

“Tonight,” You agreed and, just for tonight, you let go of everything except for Sans and the little soul that was right between you where it belonged.

Chapter Text

You woke up disoriented and unsure of where you were. For just a moment you were certain you were on a boat in the middle of the ocean, but you blinked and the blue green waves were gone. It took you a moment longer to realize you were on the couch where you had fallen asleep with Sans the night before, and not a swaying boat.

A knock sounded, and now awake you realized that what your sleeping mind had assumed was driftwood knocking against your boat, was actually someone at your door. You peered at your curtains, where you could see nothing but darkness, and then fumbled your phone off of the coffee table and peered at it blearily.

2:54 AM

You very carefully eased out from under Sans and settled him on the couch, grabbed your ski pole from behind the door, and very carefully unlocked the door and peered out.

Chris looked back at you, shifting from foot to foot warily.

“Boy,” You hissed, glancing around to make sure the coast was clear, then slipped out and closing the door behind you so you wouldn't wake Sans up, “You almost got yourself skewered with a ski pole.”

“I was pretty sure you’d look first,” Chris said with a tiny smile. As your eyes adjusted to the difference between your pitch black living room and your moon washed front yard, you could see how twitchy Chris was, and how tense his face was.

“What are you doing here Chris, you haven’t been here since… since before the war started.” You said softly.

Chris glanced away, “Yeah… uhm, about that I…”

“Chris,” You poked him with the ski pole, “You blamed me, it’s okay I blame me, too. I’m pretty sure you aren’t at my front door at three in the morning because you feel guilty about avoiding me for the past two years, though.”

“Yeah, no I mean… I do feel guilty, I mean I have for awhile, Remi would have been pissed at me and… anyway, yeah that’s not why I’m here,” Chris glanced around, his hand beating a rhythm against his pants.

“The houses to the right, behind, and kiddy corner are still abandoned kid, and, unless the Patels are back from their family vacation early, then the house across the street is empty, too. What are you looking for?” You prodded.

“Dante.” Chris said shortly, shoving his hands in his pockets to still them, “He, uh, he’s pretty pissed. About the other day.”

“He should be, that was a pathetic showing.” You snorted.

“Yeah, okay, but he’s really pissed off _____,” Chris emphasized, “And that guy showed up again, the one that paid him to go after you the first time.”

You frowned and leaned against the door, “Are you telling me Dante’s after me again?”

“I don’t know, he-Dante didn’t say. He just called everyone up tonight, and I mean everyone, and he just said to be ready to move.” Chris glanced around again.

You looked around, too. The familiar crumbling two story greeted you to the right, it’s empty windows looking like lifeless eyes, straight ahead the Patel’s normally immaculate lawn was in dire need of a trim, but the windows were covered and there were no signs of life from within. The rest of the street was completely empty.

“You don’t have to be here, Chris. Dante would be… angry if he knew you were giving me any warning,” You said softly.

“Uh, yeah, I know, but… I mean… I’ve been mad at you, but you made me cookies and milk during all nighters in High School, and you sewed me three costumes, three years in a row when I kept growing and wouldn't fit in my Lock costume anymore even though Remi was still fitting fine in her Shock costume…   I can’t just stand there while Dante plots to kill you, ya know?” He said, so softly you had to strain to hear him over the sound of crickets.

You considered Chris for a long moment. Almost all of Remi’s friends had been driven away systematically when she was in a relationship with Robbie (Generally by Robbie himself who hadn’t wanted to share her attention). Chris had been the tenacious one who had stuck by her side through the whole affair, and much like you did, he had blamed you for her death on the fields between Ebott City and Mount Ebott.

“I appreciate it, but you don’t need to put yourself in danger,” You said gently, “I can take Dante, I’ve been fighting him and his boys since before you hit puberty, Chris.”

“Yeah, but it’s not just Dante’s boys,” Chris said grimly, “There were people I’d never seen who showed up, _____. Scary guys, way worse than anyone Dante has ever let into the gang before.”

You leaned against the door and tapped the ski pole against the ground.

Dante’s ‘Gang’ was little more than a bunch of teenagers and young adults playing at Fight Club. They fought each other, and anyone who wanted to fight (like you on a bad day), they graffitied, and they occasionally vandalized one of the abandoned houses in the neighborhood, but they tended to stick out of true crime. Honestly, Dante seemed to view himself more as Peter Pan than as a real gang leader, gathering underage kids and putting them through dangerous nonsense for ‘fun’ and to ‘belong to a family’.

Dante was very proud, though, and you’d pissed him off in the past. You wouldn't put it past him to recruit some extra muscle if his pride had really been hurt, which put you in a bind since you were pretty sure leaving him and several of his gang laid out on the sidewalk was enough to hurt his pride.

A bit.

A tiny amount.

He was probably pissed beyond all comprehension.

“Thanks Chris,” You said sincerely, “You should go.”

He nodded solemnly, “Be safe.”

“I will if you are,” You have him a lopsided grin, “Get out of the gang business, kid, find a decent job and some new friends, yeah?”

Chris snorted and shook his head, “Sorry _____, my ship has already sailed.” He took off, glancing around the dark streets warily as he went.

You kept an eye on him until he turned a corner out of sight and tapped your finger against the ski pole as you thought.

Chris would have absolutely recognized Robbie, which meant that the guy paying Dante’s gang off could either be Dex, or another one of Dex’s cronies, which would be an interesting line of questions to explore if you could corner Dante.

The best bet would be to figure out when he planned to strike, and turn it against him.

Dante wouldn’t come near you at your house, he had no idea what nasty surprises you had hidden around. He wouldn't come near you at Quin’s either, the real reason she’d never needed to hire a bouncer before was because too many scary people owed Quin favors and were more than happy to pay them back by keeping the bar peaceful.

(‘She only hired a monster bouncer because she’s expecting monster trouble, trouble you brought her,’ That nasty voice in your head whispered, but for once it didn’t actually bother you in the slightest. You wished Quin wasn’t involved, but the only thing you would have done differently is to beat Robbie to death with his own severed arms the moment Sans was signed over to you.)

So the most logical time for him to confront you was on your way home from Quin’s Place, or apparently on your way home from Quin’s Place…

A plan began to form as you idly looked up into the sky, searching the stars for any additional help they wanted to give.

~

Sans woke slowly.

He felt like his bones were burning, the fire of his heat much more intense after a day and some change of not doing anything, but everytime he opened his mouth to say something, or raised a hand to reach for you…

He couldn’t.

He wasn’t sure if it was the slight but ever present worry that you would get tired of him, or something in his own nature that made it difficult to ask for help but…

He couldn’t. He couldn’t bring himself to ask you for help.

So the fire burned on.

“Hey sleepy head.”

Sans shifted so he could lean up on his elbow and look at you. At some point, he realized, he must have fallen asleep and you’d taken him to the bedroom.

“time s’it?” He slurred sleepily, carefully pulling the blanket off so it wouldn't brush anything sensitive.

“Nine,” You leaned down and kissed him, for a moment banishing all of the fire as he focused on your lips against his bones, then you leaned away and handed him a cup of tea, “I was thinking this morning, would you mind if we stayed with Quin tonight? After work?”

Sans took a slow sip of the tea, relaxing slightly as your magic chased some of the heat away, “you’re still worried about her, right?”

“It would make me feel better if you and she were in one place I could keep safe, for a night at least.” You admitted.

Sans smirked at you, “maybe i’ll convince her to tell me more embarrassing stories about you in high school,” He teased.

“Terror by night, teenager with the worst luck by day,” You mourned, “Quin has more blackmail on me than there are stars in the sky.”

“well that settles it then, i’m sure i’ll be giddy and starry eyed by the end of the night,” Sans took another sip of the tea, smiling at you innocently.

You jokingly narrowed your eyes at him and went to the closet and pulled out two shirts, two pairs of pants, a pair of shorts, a pair of pajama pants, and two nightshirts.  It took Sans a moment to realize that half the things you were now sticking in a small backpack were his. He recognized the shirt as one he’d worn the other day, and his soul felt brighter at the realization that you had not just done laundry, but put his things right beside yours.

“_____?”

You turned around with a smile on your face and looked at him curiously.

Sans opened his mouth, but then closed it and offered you a smile, “love you.”

Your expression softened, “Love you, too.”

~

Sans had insisted on carrying the blankets you’d planned on bringing, leaving you with the pillows and the backpack.

Your pills were safely placed on the counter, where you could grab them after you ‘remembered’ you’d forgotten to bring them later tonight. Quin had agreed to the sleepover easily enough, and Sans had seemed excited for it, so they would be perfectly safe above the bar while you were getting ‘ambushed’ and kicking ass.

“i would tell a joke about beds, but it hasn’t been made up yet,” Sans called over the blankets.

“I always make the bed, if I forget the sheet hits the fan,” You shot back easily.

“i have to debunk that, you never make the bed if you can help it.” Sans protested.

“I’ll give it a rest then.” You snickered.

“If you don’t pay more attention to the world around you, you’re gonna get cot in a bad situation.”

The smile fell from your face and you dropped the pillows and backpack, and had Sans between you and the tree you had just passed before he could blink.

“_____?” Sans asked softly.

You didn’t look back at you, you were only barely resisting the urge to growl at Dante, who was smirking at you.

“The fuck are you doing here?” You snarled.

“Well, I was a tiny bit upset the other day, you understand I’m sure why I would be, and I decided that round two might be in order.” Dante smiled and suddenly you were surrounded.

You pressed Sans further against the tree, eyes darting around as you tried to catalog each threat as fast as possible. At the back of the group you saw Chris looking remorsefully at you.

“This doesn’t make sense,” You growled, “Smart guy like you, you’d think you’d come after me when I’m tired, not fresh and ready to kick your ass.”

“Maybe,” Dante allowed, “But as smart as that could be, I’m afraid I was just a bit more impatient to see you get what’s coming to you.”

“What do we do about the monster?” Someone in the crowd called.

You felt Sans’s hand on your shoulder, and you heard him snarl lowly, warningly. A quick glance over your shoulder let you see him, glaring and baring his teeth in a fanged threat at the surrounded group.

You felt fire race in your veins, your little plan had not worked out quite the way you’d planned, and now Sans was in danger.

“He’s supposed to be pretty weak, can’t even use magic,” Dante said carelessly, “If you can separate ‘em, hold him, and we’ll deal with him after we’ve dealt with them.”

You reached into your pocket and pulled out your pocket knife, “You come near him, and I’ll murder you,” You growled.

“What the fuck dude?”

“What was that noise?”

“They sound like an animal!”

“Must be what happens when you spend too much time with monsters.”

“Enough,” Dante snapped, “What the hell are you lot talking for? Get ‘em!”

Your grip on the knife tightened as people started moving in on you all at once. You had to survive this, you had to protect Sans.

You had too much to do to die here.

Chapter Text

The biggest obstacle you were currently facing was that you could not move. When you fought normally, you were over people, under people, to the left, to the right, and all around them. Doing that right now risked leaving Sans undefended.

Which was Unacceptable.

So you did your best to Defend instead of Dodge.

With the kids in Dante’s gang, who were really just little idiots who hadn’t gotten the chance to realize that everyone had to grow up eventually or die, you did your best to only aim for non-lethal spots with your knife. The hard faced men and women who came at you with the intent to kill, however, you spared no such Mercy.

You grit your teeth as a lethal looking woman cut a line of fire down your collarbone at the same moment a laughing man kicked your side hard enough to knock you off your feet.

The animalistic snarl that wrenched itself out of your mouth fell silent as the laughing man hefted Sans in the air by the back of his spine and dangled him in your direction. His companion rested her knife, still stained with your blood, to his sternum in a clear threat.

“Well, well, well,” The laughing man snickered, “You’re not bad, not bad at all.”

Everyone around you had stilled, watching the four of you.

“Thirty four people, not including Dante, and you’ve taken down twelve of us without moving from your spot. Most of those were brats, but impressive none the less.” He acknowledged you.

You didn’t look at him, your eyes were locked on Sans and you were trying to figure out if you could incinerate everyone present before they ran, or Sans got hurt.

“Your problem,” The lethal woman spoke now, yanking her knife away from Sans as he made a grab for it and smacking him reproachfully on the shoulder with the butt of it, “Is that you gave up your weakness very early in the fight. Before we even started really. All we needed was this runty monster and we’d have you.”

“Let him go, he’s got nothing to do with this,” You snapped.

“He’s involved now, even if his only contribution is to keep my poor Markus’s pretty face intact,” The lethal woman shot the laughing man a wink.

He grinned at her and shifted his grip slightly, causing Sans to cry out.

“Please!” The word escaped before you’d even realized you were going to speak, “Please, just… dammit, don’t hurt him.”

“Markus, Zoey, step back,” Dante walked out of the crowd, eyes intent on you.

Markus, and the lethal Zoey, stepped away from you, though he kept a good grip on Sans and she kept the knife in place.

“_____,” Dante spoke pleasantly. Your eyes flickered to him, but you couldn’t bring yourself to look away from Sans for too long. His face was screwed up in obvious discomfort, but the glowing lights of his eyes were locked on you.

“_____.” Dante’s tone was now harsher and he stepped between you and Sans, obscuring much of the skeleton monster with his body. With reluctance you drug your eyes from Sans’s to Dante. “As fun as it would be to watch you get overwhelmed and utterly destroyed the good old fashioned way, your little friend’s presence gives me a better idea. A fun idea.”

Your free hand balled into a fist, your grip on the knife handle so tight it was starting to cut the circulation off from your fingers, and you waited for him to continue.

There was nothing you could do. Dante was now standing between you and Markus, making it that much more difficult if you tried to wrestle Sans away from the taller man, and the only offensive magic you knew how to use required skin contact.

Dante appeared to be waiting for a response from you.

“What’s your idea?” You ground out.

Dante smiled, “You’re going to stand there. You’re going to stand there and take what’s coming to you, and then when I’m satisfied we’ll let the-” He glanced over his shoulder, “-the skeleton go.”

“And I’m supposed to just believe you, am I?” You sneered at him.

“Your options are to keep fighting, and Zoey will dust him, or stand there and on my honor we will let him go.” Dante assured you.

You looked back at Sans.

“no!” He said furiously, “don’t you even-”

“Markus?”

Sans didn’t even get the chance to try and muffle his scream as Markus did something you couldn’t see to him behind Dante’s back.

“Stopstopstop!” You took a step forward and instinctively reached out, panic flaring below your breastbone.

“Markus.”

Sans went quiet, but his eyes were wide over Dante’s shoulder and you could see that his breathing was harsh.

“I’m sorry,” You spoke to Sans, and to a lesser degree to Chris who was still watching you from somewhere within the crowd. You took a deep breath, grint your teeth, and dropped the knife in a silent agreement.

“Oh good, that’s what I was hoping you’d say,” Dante grinned. You fought to keep your expression neutral and dropped your eyes to your feet.

He walked over, your only forewarning were his shoes coming into focus, and then he punched you in the jaw hard enough to send you toppling over. Your world swam as your ass hit the ground, and you bit down hard on your instinctive reaction to lash out.

“Get up.” Dante said flatly.

“don’t!” Sans pleaded.

Shakily you climbed to your feet, and defiantly met Dante’s eyes. He frowned and kicked you in the stomach. You grit your teeth harder to prevent yourself from making a noise, but you couldn't stop yourself from curling in slightly.

Dante scowled at you and stepped back, “This isn’t a video game, we don’t need to go one at a time idiots,” Dante called out.

You met the eyes of each person who came up, the only defiance you could afford to show with Sans on the line. It shook some of them, the way you seemed to be silently telling them that in any other situation they’d be dead, but it seemed to piss others off. You and the lethal looking Zoey weren’t the only ones to have brought knives, and while the people with blades were doing their best to avoid stabbing or cutting you in obviously lethal spots, they didn’t seem to realize that you could also die from blood loss. Others preferred a much different method and you found yourself struggling to your feet too often as they knocked you down and waited until you stood back up.

“stop it! let me go, damn you, stop hurting them!” Sans was yelling from what felt like a long ways away, but it didn’t sound like he was in pain, so you stayed still and took a boot to your face.

“Ow, fuck, shit,” It slipped out before you could stop it as you crumpled and grabbed your nose. You’d heard it crunch, but if there was any pain it had simply blended in with the increasing pounding in your head.

“Get up.” Dante said flatly, somewhere beyond the pounding. You ignored him for a moment and with a grunt you set your nose.

“Get. Up.” Dante said shortly.

You felt a little light headed, although whether it was from blood loss or from sound of the pounding in your head you couldn’t say.

“Don’t get up.”

“please don’t get up.”

“What do you think you’re doing?”

You looked up to see the crowd had backed away from you. Chris was standing next to Sans, who was standing underneath a shimmering cyan shield. Markus and Zoey were on the ground behind them, either dead or knocked out.

“I asked you what you think you’re doing, Christopher?” Dante said lowly.

Chris smiled, “I, uh, was thinking of getting out of the whole gang business. And what better way to start then to keep a… a friend from getting hurt?” Chris offered.

“Chris, undo whatever you did to the skeleton, restrain him, and I won’t get angry,” Dante said thinly, “I didn’t get paid to kill them, they’ll get away from this. I can’t say the same thing about you.”

You climbed unsteadily to your feet. You couldn’t imagine how you looked, though with the blood you could feel running down your sides and face, you were fairly certain you looked hacked to bits.

But Sans was safe. You didn’t know how, because he wasn’t supposed to be able to use magic, but he was safe.

“Think about this carefully, Chris,” Everyone seemed far more interested in the betrayal of one of their own than in continuing the fight, “I told you when you joined up, we’re family. You don’t just leave family, especially not like this.”

“I can’t watch this Dante, I can’t be part of this,” Chris shook his head, “Do you realize how sick this is? You’re torturing someone while someone that cares about them watches.”

“He’s just a monster, it doesn’t matter if he cares about them. People have places in the world,” Dante explained patiently, “Monsters are on the bottom, people who sympathize with them are just above them, then there’s the dirt, the worms inside the dirt, human waste, and way way up the list are normal people like you and me. Monsters killed your best friend, Christopher, and they,” Dante gestured at you, “Are the reason the monsters got the chance.”

“My best friend would have been ripping you a new one right alongside their sibling,” Chris shot back, “Just drop it, let them go.”

“They humiliated us!” Dante snarled, calm composure falling to pieces, “Not just me, Chris, your family was humiliated! Even now!” He spun on the gathered onlookers, “How the hell does one person take out twelve people when they’re not moving from one spot, and protecting someone else?! What kind of fucking amateurs are you?!”

“_____,” Sans murmured, only just loud enough for you to hear. His hand was pressed against the cyan shield.

No, not a shield. A barrier. A magic Sans would never cast because he had been trapped for too many years, too many lives.

You pulled on your magic, and in that instant you saw a line of your magic being drawn towards Sans, but not to Sans. Yours and Sans’s magic was being mixed and the tiny soul was using it to protect Sans with a barrier.

“Clever baby,” You whispered, swaying slightly.

“What was that?” Dante whirled on you.

You straightened and forced as much of the lightheadedness as you could aside, “I said you’re a spoiled baby, Dante. I’m a good fighter, and anyone would fight harder to protect someone. You’re just a chicken shit, and Chris can see it now.” You taunted.

“A chicken shit, am I?” Dante asked coldly.

“The biggest chicken shit,” You confirmed.

Dante’s face twisted and he whipped a pistol out of his jacket pocket and fired off two fast shots.

One of them bounce off of the barrier surrounding Sans and disappeared.

The other one found its target.

“Chris!” You dove forward and caught him just before he fell.

“O-oh…” He brought a shaky hand up and placed it on his chest. His hand came away bloody, “Oh I… haha… I always… I knew this damn gang… haha… would get me…”

“Hold on Chris, fuck, hold on, I-I-I’ll figure this out, I can fix this, hold on,” You put a hand on the bullet would and started pulling on your magic, deciding you’d just pour it in until you could force him to heal.

“Hey,” Chris put his hand over yours, “I’ll… I’ll say ‘hi’ to Remi… for you.”

Something was shaking at the edge of your senses, and a part of you that you didn’t quite understand how to comprehend reached desperately for the shaking thing…

But it shattered.

For a moment you got the impression of purple shards falling away into nothing, and then Chris’s chest fell and did not rise again.

“Chris?” You whispered quietly.

There was no response.

Very gently you closed his eyes and bowed your head, “Take care of Remi,” You murmured and painfully climbed to your feet.

“_____?” Sans was watching you with a pained expression, hand still pressed against the Barrier.

“I’ll get you out in a second Sans,” You murmured, eyes locked on the gun Dante was pointing at you.

Behind Dante, the crowd of people were shifting worriedly.

“Dante,” Someone hissed, “You said the monster didn’t have any magic!”

“Did I tell you, you could talk?” Dante demanded.

“If you leave now, you can leave with your lives,” You smiled a smile that felt too sharp to be reassuring, “This is the only kindness I’m extending to you.”

Silence met your statement.

“Ey, fuck this shit. I’m not getting paid, and I’m not gonna fuck with no monster magic if I ain’t getting paid,” A pale woman near Dante grumbled finally, and took off.

Silently, people followed her, until it was just you and Dante, who hadn’t lowered the gun.

“Well that’s annoying,” Dante said conversationally.

“That kindness wasn’t extended to you,” You told him coldly.

“Surprisingly I didn’t think it did,” Dante admitted, “Not that you’re much of a threat, even with your shield wielding monster. You’ve got, what, two minutes before you pass out from blood loss?”

You thought of your dwindling magic, “Not even that, so this has gotta be quick. Can’t draw things out like the book.”

“Book?” Dante looked at you like you’d lost your mind.

You took separated the smallest amount of magic you could, the amount you knew you’d need from experience, leaving the rest for the tiny soul to draw on, and launched yourself faster than humanly possible at Dante, wrapping him in a bear hug.

“Yeah, Dante’s Inferno.” You whispered in his ear and started to burn.

It was much faster with Dante than with Alan, maybe because you knew what you were doing. Iit only took a few seconds for Dante to crumble to ash in your arms.

“_____!” Sans yelled, “_____ let me out, you’re going to die if you keep this up!”

The world had taken on a strange fishbowl like quality, and something was roaring instead of pounding in your ears.

“Th’ honey Sans,” You slurred, stumbling towards him, finding it hard to focus. He needed to know, had to know, you’d prepared for this just a little, “Don… don’t die, there’s magic… in the honey, I made sure...” You stumbled into the barrier, raising your hand to catch yourself, and it collapsed. Sans grabbed you as your vision went grey and fuzzy at the edges.

“fuck, don’t die, don’t you dare, you promised,” Sans was going through your pockets.

“Sans, did you feel it?” You asked distantly, “It was the… baby… the baby used magic… the baby used our magic… are they supposed to do that? I’m so proud…”

“hold on, stay awake! tori! tori, _____ has been hurt bad, they’re going to die, you need to be here now!”

“The honey, Sans, I put more magic in it,” The grey was getting darker, “Don’t let the little soul… don’t let them go dark…” A hysterical giggle slipped past your lips, “Dark like Onyx, Onyx was a font, remember…”

“_____?”

“‘m glad your… name is Sans, I’m rather, ah, font of you.” You snickered, and that seemed to be the final straw for your struggling consciousness. The last thing you saw was the indistinct shape of Sans above you.

Chapter Text

Sans was used to death.

In the resets that had happened long before Frisk and the other human fell into the Underground, Sans had seen everyone he knew die at least once.

He’d seen death, he’d known death, he’d died more than once.

Watching your eyes go out of focus, hearing it in your voice as you faded, and watching your soul shake had been one of the worst moments of his life.

“Sans?”

“you’re sure they’ll wake up, tori?”

Toriel placed a paw on his shoulder, “Soon Sans, they’re perfectly okay now. They’ll be a little sore, but they’ll be fine.”

Sans took a deep, shuddery, breath, “thanks tori… did the police have anything else to say?”

“No, they accepted your explanation that the person shot the boy and ran. They said they would like to speak with _____ when they are awake, though.”

“when they’re ready.” Sans agreed distantly, refusing to move his eyes from your face.

There had been no choice but to call the police to report the death of the boy that had freed him from the asshole holding him up by his spine, and since it would be going on record that a monster healing had saved your life, Toriel had healed your black eye as well, giving you a much more peaceful look as you slept.

Since it had been a matter of a contracted monster, with the human they were contracted to being the injured party, Asgore had had to come in to claim temporary responsibility for Sans, and Quin had shown up to stand as the party responsible for you. He had been taken aside by Asgore for a moment after the police spoke with him, but before he could return to your side, to make sure no one had seen you using magic.

Sans heard Toriel leave behind him, gently shutting the door, so he allowed himself to release one of his hands from the death grip he had on your hand and placed it lightly on his chest.

“if i didn’t love you before, kid, this would have sealed the deal.” He murmured.

It was a secret, Sans hadn't liked the calculating look in Asgore’s eyes when he had admitted that the tiny soul had managed to manipulate his and your magic to summon a barrier that had protected him until your and Sans’s hands had met across the magic.

So he just hadn’t mentioned that the only reason your soul hadn’t shattered was because the tiny soul had used Sans’s gravity magic to anchor it until Toriel had managed to get there.

(Toriel, thankfully, hadn’t asked. She’d been more worried about healing.)

He didn’t feel any sort of response from the little soul, but then he wasn’t even sure it was cognizant of what it had done. It was supposed to be such a powerful little soul, that Sans was almost certain both the barrier and the holding your soul together had been a response to the emotional distress you and Sans had been feeling. It was frightening, to think his child was that strong despite it being only days since conception, but it was a relief, too. The stronger the people in his life were, the less likely he was to lose them.

~

For the life of you, you couldn’t imagine what you had been doing before bed to make you ache like this. It wasn’t even just an all over ache, it was a very specific ache in your chest and it made you groan out loud.

“_____? are you waking up? oh stars, please tell me you’re waking up…”

There was an edge of panic to the relief in Sans’s voice and it immediately set you on edge and you tried to draw on your magic so you could immediately confront what was upsetting him.

The ache in your chest intensified into a sharp pain and you gasped and jerked, your eyes shooting open.

“oh shit! don’t use magic, love, don’t. everything’s okay, you’re safe, i’m safe, the baby is safe, everyone is safe.” Sans held your face loosely, forcing you to look at him, and slowly the pain faded back into an ache and slowly the memory of the fight, or most of it at least, started to return.

“Sans,” You breathed, relieved beyond belief that he was safe, “Sans you’re okay,” You reached up and cupped his cheek, “You’re okay.”

Sans leaned into your hand, and you saw he was shaking faintly, “don’t you ever scare me like that again,” He said, his voice low, “you were suffering from blood loss, and then between you and the baby, you used so much magic you almost died.”

Blood loss would definitely help explain why you didn’t remember exactly what happened after the third or fourth time someone had come at you with a knife.

“Sans, what happened?” You searched his face, “Did someone find us? Or did Dante actually keep his word and let you go after beating me half to death?” But that didn’t quite sound right. Sans had said you’d used magic, and if Dante had kept up his end of the bargain, why would you have needed to use magic?

Sans’s face fell and you felt his thumb caress your cheek, “oh, darlin’… what’s the last thing you remember?”

“Getting stabbed, kicked, and then falling over,” You said softly, “I don’t… I kind of remember getting up, but it’s…” It felt like it was just out of reach, a glass on a shelf that was just a hair too high, “It’s kind of hazy.”

Sans took one hand from your face, and placed it over the hand cupping his cheek, “... there was this kid, dante called him christopher…”

“Oh,” Your mouth went dry as the pieces fell into place, “Chris he… Dante shot him.”

“yeah,” Sans confirmed gently.

You didn’t say anything for a moment, just ran a thumb over the smooth bone of Sans’s cheek, and remembered a fifteen year old boy bringing a tiny ragged devil costume to you and asking if you could help him get it back in shape by Halloween, to surprise Remi.

“That’s why we have to win.” You said finally, forcing the pain away to that deep dark place you put emotions when you didn’t want to deal with them.

Sans frowned at you, confusion clear on his face. You took your hand from Sans’s face and pulled him down to the bed next to you, “I can’t go back in time. I can’t save Remi, or Chris, but I can help you and I can help Papyrus, and Alphys, and Toriel, and… and Undyne. I can help all of you, and make sure no monster has to be hurt by some asshole human. We’ll win so that our child doesn’t have to worry about their friends and family being forced into a contract like you were. We’ll win so that kids like Chris don’t have to take a stand that will get them killed.” You were crying, you realized, in a distant part of your mind that was watching everything logically.

“you’re not taking this the way i was expecting,” Sans said softly.

“I’m angry,” You admitted, wiping at your face and shoving your emotions even further away, “I’m so angry I could burst, but I can’t yell at you, just because I’m angry. I don’t think I really have any right to a temper tantrum, as it is, considering I killed someone again-”

“don’t,” Sans said softly, leaning back so there was just enough room between you for him to give you a quelling look, “don’t you dare feel guilty about killing him. i would have killed him if i could.”

“Sans-”

“and you can’t ever do that ever again,” He interrupted, “i… stars, i can’t even tell you what it was like watching you get hurt and not being able to do anything about it, worse, knowing it was my fault…”

“It wasn’t your fault,” You grimaced, “It was my fault.”

“you were outnum-”

“I was a cocky, confident, shit head.” You refuted flatly, “I… Chris came to me, he told me that Dante was planning something. I thought he’d wait until I was coming back from Quin’s, tired. I… I was going to use myself as bait, I left my medicine on the counter intentionally so I’d have a reason to head home alone for a second…”

“so you were planning on dying.” Sans’s voice was flat and cold, and you stiffened.

“Die? No! No, I was… I was just trying to keep you and Quin out of it. I’d do anything to keep you from getting hurt…”

“anything like take a beating from thirty some people?” Sans’s voice had lost the coldness, but not the flatness.

“I’ve kicked the ass of every single one of those people at one point or another… except Zoey and Markus, I hadn’t met them before,” You scowled slightly at the memory of Sans crying out from Markus’s touch, “It was a calculated risk… I’ve messed around with Dante and his gang in the past, getting in fights after-for fun. I never… I don’t want to leave you Sans. Not ever.”

“you sure seemed prepared for it though,” Sans said softly, “i looked at that honey.”

“Oh. Yeah. That.” You frowned guiltily.

“yeah,” Sans said, his eyes darkening, “that.”

“That’s not active planning, more of a reactionary panic,” You said sheepishly, “I… Asgore said you’d be alright, for a week, without me as long as you had my magic. No harm to you or the baby. I don’t sleep well, and sometimes I just get up and walk around the house at night, and… I was thinking about the dark children, the ones who turned their own parents to dust by draining their magic. I don’t want to risk that, I don’t want to do something stupid and condemn you to death and our child to not just being evil, but a void… an absence of love.” You said softly, “I thought… I remembered what you were saying, about honey being able to hold unlimited magic, and I thought, maybe, if things went bad, I could at least keep you two alive.”

Sans stared at you, a faint blue flush rising to glow in his cheeks, “how often are you up at night?” He asked, his flat tone changing to concern.

“A lot less, since you got here,” You told him softly, “Last couple of nights I sort of snuck out of bed and emptied everything I could in that jar, but I spend more time, uh, holding you.” You cheeks warmed slightly at the, admittedly sappy, confession.

Sans sighed and rested his head against your collarbone, “i don’t like thinking of you dying,” He admitted shakily, “you were close, too close. your soul started to crack and… if it weren’t for the baby i would have lost you. they held you together, until tori found us.”

You ran a comforting hand down Sans’s spine, and frowned slightly, “Toriel, she healed me? Is she here? I’d like to thank her.”

Sans gave a heavy sigh, “they’re all here. asgore, tori, bp, frisk, papyrus, alphys, undyne, and quin. grillby and mettaton only left a little while ago. the others have been here for awhile.”

Your eyes widened and you jerked to look at the door, wincing as your chest ached again, “Sans,” You whispered frantically, “Sans that's more people than my living room can hold, how are they all here?” You said in bafflement, “And Frisk? That’s Tori’s kid, the one I’ll be watching, how am I supposed to make a good impression when I just got half killed?”

Sans was watching you with a look of surprise, which melted into a soft smile, “quin’s been making a run on your tea, you wouldn’t beleaf  how many cups of tea asgore can go through. tori’s been keeping an eye on him, and frisk is delighted to have someone to talk to who knows sign. i put that movie we watched the other night, the nightmare before christmas, on for alphys, undyne, and papyrus, and the last thing i heard from the direction of the living room was paps getting really excited about the possibilities of secret doors in trees.”

You relaxed slightly, “Oh, well, in that case.” You started shifting, and Sans put a hand on your chest.

“what are you doing?”

“I’m getting up?” You looked down at yourself, “And I was planning on putting on clothes before anyone sees me?”

“tori and i have seen you.” Sans pointed out.

“Before anyone else sees me,” You amended, sitting up.

Sans considered for a long moment, before sighing and sitting up with you, “okay, but no magic, and be careful.” He said seriously.

You winced at the memory of the pain that had ripped through you when you tried to use magic earlier, “Yeah, don’t have to tell me twice. Why do I ache like this? Did I use all my magic or something?” You stood up and stretched carefully.

“you cracked your soul,” Sans enunciated, “your soul almost shattered. if the baby couldn’t use my gravity magic, you would be dead now.” His voice shook on the last part of the sentence.

You placed a hand over your chest, the faintest sensation of vertigo crossing you as you realized how close you had been to dying.

And how close Sans was to losing it, despite how calm he was acting.

“Will it hurt me to take my soul out?” You asked abruptly, sitting back down next to him.

Sans leaned into you instantly, “it… no, not as long as you’re not the one who does it.”

“Do me a favor and pull my soul out for a moment?” You coaxed gently.

“you aren’t going to do anything crazy with it are you?” Sans asked worriedly.

You considered, “How crazy could-actually, nevermind. No, I won’t do anything crazy with it.”

Sans shifted so he was still leaning on you, but made a beckoning motion at your chest.

Your soul appeared and you winced.

There was only the faintest trace of green, less an actual presence of color and more the idea the color should be there, the only real color left was the gold smears on the outside. It also looked like you’d gone at it with a metal hammer.

“Oh wow,” You said, gently cupping the nearly clear heart and, as lightly as possible, brushed a finger across one of the cracks. It felt being stabbed all over again, and you pulled your finger away immediately, “I, uh, did a real number on it…”

“yeah,” Sans sounded even closer to the edge of breakdown.

You took a breath to clear everything from your mind except Sans, and then you gently dumped your soul into his hands, which had been cupped in his lap.

You weren’t sure what exactly you were doing, but it felt like the right thing to do.

You were surrounded in the feeling of Sans’s magic, totally unprotected by your own fire, but it didn’t make you feel vulnerable, instead it felt just as safe, if not safer, than you had felt with your magic. You felt an overwhelming feeling of grief and fear in the thunderstorm of magic surrounding you, and guilt. Overwhelming guilt tied to a very specific image of Dante’s back and the phantom sound of Dante saying “-when I’m satisfied I’ll let the skeleton go.” You pressed against the thunderstorm with every reassuring feeling, and every ounce of love you felt for Sans and the tiny soul. You fought the guilt, specifically, with the thought that you would not just die for Sans, but that you would live for him, too.

Slowly the grief, fear, and guilt faded away, not gone but reassured for the moment. You basked in the feeling of Sans surrounding you for a moment, before you felt the lines of lightning racing through Sans’s storm. You pressed your feeling of self closer to him until you realized what the lines of lightning were.

“Oh Sans,” You murmured, “Love, you’re hurting…”

You felt bone brush against skin in the near and far place that was your physical self, and then you were holding Sans’s soul.

If you thought the first time you’d held Sans’s soul was overwhelming, it was nothing compared to now. In that moment you were completely in sync, and totally opposite of him. Sans inhaled and you exhaled, the thrumming of his magic in his bones synched up with your heart, and both of you were infinitely aware of the tiny soul that practically glowed in pleasure as the two of you joined in a perfect harmony, opposite and the same, infinite and tiny.

Sans and _____.

“Oh dear,” Toriel’s embarrassed whisper brought your and Sans’s consciousnesses crashing down from the magical to the physical, and both of you felt blushes crawling across your own cheeks and each others, “I will just, uhm, wait in the hall for you.” Toriel turned and walked back into the hall, closing the door behind her.

You didn’t have to feel Sans’s embarrassment to know that what Toriel had walked in on was just as intimate, if not more intimate, than sex.

“it’s one of the first steps of bonding,” Sans admitted quietly, responding to the thoughts he could feel from you. You felt a touch of doubt swim through him, doubt that you’d want to bond, that you’d really want him.

“Monsters can see bonds, right?” You asked curiously.

“mmhm.”

“Good,” You leaned over to kiss Sans as you gently passed his soul back to him, “I want everyone to see that you are mine, and I am yours.”

The last thing you felt from Sans before he returned your soul to you was a flash of love so fierce you forgot how to breath for a second. You let your soul return to it’s proper position in your chest and leaned over to kiss Sans firmly.

“love you,” He murmured as you pulled away.

“I love you, too,” You assured him emphatically, practically glowing with happiness. The ache in your chest was still present, but incredibly dulled.

Sans leaned against your arm and raised his voice slightly, “we’re decent tori, sorry.”

Toriel carefully opened the door and stepped in. You were pretty sure, if this was anyone else in the world, they would be blushing and look terribly awkward, but Toriel walked in with a warm expression and the grace you expected of former royalty.

Which left you to be the blushing awkward mess.

“H-hello Toriel,” You smiled sheepishly at her.

Toriel laughed softly and, as soon as she was close enough, she pulled you into a gentle hug, “Hello my child, I am pleased to see you feeling better now.”

You returned the hug, “I am, thanks Toriel, for healing me and for coming.” You told her sincerely.

“I did not mind doing it in the slightest my child, I am simply happy you survived the unfortunate encounter,” Toriel said, her face becoming solemn, “Sans has told you that you are to avoid magic until your soul has healed, yes?”

“Yeah,” You nodded as she leaned away to watch your face.

“Wonderful,” Toriel beamed, “I will let you get changed and let the others know you’re awake.”

“Thank you,” You smiled sheepishly at her, “We’ll be out in a moment.”

“A moment? No need to rush that fast.” To your utter horror Toriel wiggled her eyebrows at you and you felt your face turn bright red.

Sans erupted into snickers as Toriel closed the door behind her, leaving you standing there with the awkward sensation of your mom having teased you about sex.

(Part of you was utterly baffled that you even recognized the feeling, but maybe that was part of Toriel’s magic. No matter what she did, it felt like your mom was doing it.)

You shook your head and grabbed some clean clothes from the closet, but before you could actually start changing Sans’s pulled you into a hug from behind.

“you can’t hide your grief from me after sharing your soul like that,” He murmured into your ear.

For just a moment part of you panicked that someone, anyone, had seen your weakness, but then you leaned into Sans with a sigh.

“I can’t Sans,” You murmured, “If I stop to grieve, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get going again.”

“it’s not healthy to bundle it all up inside,” Sans warned, “trust me, i know.”

“Yeah,” You sighed, “Just… Maybe when the house isn’t so full I’ll stop for a moment…”

“i’m here if you need me,” Sans pressed a kiss to your neck, “you don’t even have to ask.”

You rest your hands over Sans’s and sighed, “I need you, Sans.”

“i’m here.”

If he noticed the lone tear that coasted down your cheek, he didn’t say anything. He just held you tighter, and for just a moment you let yourself grieve for the loss of a young man with a dimpled grin, who had once upon a time traversed the neighborhood dressed as a devil at the side of a girl dressed as a witch.

Chapter Text

It was time to face the music, as they say, though you didn’t think the metaphorical music had ever described a handful of monsters, your best friend, and the adopted human child of the former Queen of monsters before. You held Sans’s hand as you made your way to the front room, trying to maximize contact as much as you could to help keep back the pangs of pain you had sensed when you touched Sans’s soul, while still remaining appropriate for Sans’s little brother and Toriel’s child watching for you.

“Howdy _____,” To your surprise Asgore was the first one to greet you, “It is nice to see you up again.”

“Thanks,” You said with a strained grin, “Sorry to have caused everyone worry…”

“_____!” Papyrus scooped you up and Sans was suddenly your only connection to the ground, “YOU SHOULD BE MORE CAREFUL IN THE FUTURE! THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WOULD BE VERY SAD IF YOU FELL DOWN!” Despite his loud and exuberant voice, you sensed genuine worry in the way Papyrus held you.

Something tugged at your leg, and Papyrus let you down so you could meet the eyes of a shaggy haired preteen.

“You must be Frisk,” You said with, what you hoped was, an easy grin, “I’m _____, it’s nice to meet you!”

Frisk smiled at you and maintained eye contact, but shifted their body so that Sans or Papyrus could easily see what they were signing.

Hi _____, it’s nice to meet you, too! I’m excited to meet another Mage!

It took you just a moment to figure out exactly what they were saying, but the familiar signs sparked a hot rush of memories in your chest and it all came flooding back.

I’m excited to meet another Mage, too. I didn’t realize you could use magic,” You signed as you spoke.

Frisk’s face lit up in excitement, You can sign!

You nodded over to Quin, who was radiating more than a little murderous, though in a way that you recognized as her ‘I’m going to kill you, but only because I love you and you worried me’ murderous intent, “We both learned because my little sister used to have moments where sound hurt her.

Frisk nodded, his face falling solemn, That doesn’t sound fun. I can hear very well, but sound doesn’t hurt me.

You nodded, “It just got overwhelming for her sometimes.”

“_-_____?” Alphys caught you attention gently, and you looked over to see the quiet dinosaur monster hovering at your elbow, Undyne standing behind looking torn between scowling and looking contrite, “H-how is your soul d-doing?”

You glanced down, even though you knew you couldn’t see your soul without pulling it out, “It’s… okay I guess. I hear I really messed up, too. I’m just glad Sans wasn’t hurt because I was being stupid.”

Alphys fidgeted with her claws and shot Undyne a faintly pleading look. Undyne glanced at you, then at Alphys, and her expression became even more conflicted.

Alphys is trying ask if she can see your soul, Frisk signed, She was the royal scientist in the Underground, and she’s the one mom goes to when she’s worried about me being a Mage, cause Alphys has the most in-depth experience with human souls.

You raised an eyebrow at Alphys and Undyne and glanced over at Sans, “I don’t mind as long as you’re okay with it?”

“i’m okay with it, Alphys is in a committed relationship but…” Sans flushed faintly blue.

“Sans may lash out without meaning to if he perceives you as in any danger at all,” Asgore explained gently, “Sans, why don’t you come to the back garden with me and we can talk for a moment.”

“Perhaps it would be better-” Toriel began with a sharp look at the other goat monster, but Asgore shook his head and raised his hand, cutting Toriel off.

“I am sorry Tori-Toriel, but I do have something important to talk to Sans about that he may wish to keep between us for the moment,” Asgore denied.

Sans looked between the two boss monsters, then shrugged and looked at you, “will you be okay with alphys?”

“I’ll be okay with Alphys if you’ll be okay with Asgore,” You bargained.

“deal. no magic, remember alph,” Sans warned.

Alphys nodded furiously, “I know S-sans, don’t w-worry! I’ll b-be very careful.”

Sans nodded and, with some reluctance, followed Asgore out the kitchen.

You looked at Alphys… then Undyne, Toriel, Quin, Papyrus, and Frisk who was wiggling their eyebrows meaningfully.

“How about we do this in the kitchen?” You proposed, feeling heat rise to your cheeks, “Quin, my darling, my platonic soulmate, would you mind turning the movie back on?”

“We’re gonna talk,” Quin said threateningly before pressing play on the movie, which had been paused as soon as you appeared.

Alphys followed you silently to the kitchen, and you couldn’t help but be a bit relieved when Undyne stayed to watch the movie with Papyrus, Frisk, Toriel, and Quin.

“S-sit, this may take a second,” Alphys said, doing her best to sound reassuring. You took a seat on one of your kitchen chairs and turned to look at her with a patient expression.

“M-may I?” Alphys asked, gesturing to your chest.

“Of course,” You nodded your assent.

Alphys beckoned and your soul came floating out of your chest.

To your surprise some of the cracks had healed, and you could almost make out an actual tint of green.

“Yes, you’re l-looking much better already,” Alphys peered at your soul, all traces of shyness fading from her voice as she focused on checking over your soul and let herself forget about being nervous around you, “Did you do something with Sans?”

You felt heat creep into your cheeks again, and reminded yourself that this was basically a doctor’s appointment in your kitchen, “Yes, we held each other’s souls for a moment.”

Alphys nodded distractedly, “Y-yes that makes sense, S-sans has enough of your magic in his system to g-give you a jump start. That’s g-good…” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small metal box, which made a soft beep when she held it near your soul. Alphys stared at the box intently, fiddling with some knobs and buttons, and held it to your soul again.

To your surprise your soul lit up in a rainbow of colors, only missing green from the flashing rainbow.

“We’ve f-found, the longer we’ve been on the surface, that h-human souls are a little d-different than we thought,” Alphys explained as she continued fiddling with the box and peering at your soul as the different colors shifted in your soul, “P-particularly with adults. With children it’s simpler, there’s one trait that defines them and it colors their soul. With adults y-you can actually access all the d-different traits at once if you expose a s-soul to magic just right…”

“So are those all mine, or…” You felt even more out of your depth than usual when dealing with magic.

“Mm,” Alphys confirmed absently as you watched solid purple fill your soul roughly one third of the way, leaving the other two thirds clear as glass and still cracked, “They’re y-yours, and they are always there… H-having a green soul d-doesn’t mean you’re just a kind person, it j-just means that your kindness is your m-most prominent trait, and y-you’re best at Green magic…” Alphys frowned slightly as your soul changed from seemingly glass to transparent gold, “O-oh that’s…”

“That’s like the gold smears that are normally there, just… bigger.” You explained.

Alphys was still frowning and playing with the box, keeping one eye on it and one eye on your soul, “Huh, I c-can’t get it to… I can’t get your Bravery or your Justice traits to separate, they’ve… fused…”

“Is that odd?” You asked curiously, resisting the urge to poke your soul, “Traits fusing?”

Alphys sighed, “I d-don’t know, I haven’t been able to w-work with a lot of adult humans, m-mostly Frisk, and they’ve been a mage for awhile so I’m n-not sure what’s normal for a human and what’s n-normal for a mage…”

“Well, it’ll be a mage’s soul, but I don’t mind letting you check over my soul sometimes to see how an adult mage’s soul works,” You offered, “It will probably be helpful for when Frisk gets older, right?”

Alphys tilted her head slightly, looking at you oddly.

You grinned, not needing an explanation, “I really don’t mind, this soul stuff is really all new to me so you’d be doing me a favor as well, since I don’t feel right interrogating Asgore or Toriel about human mages when we’re the jerks who locked you guys up.”

Alphys nodded slowly, “If you d-don’t mind, then it w-would be really helpful…”

“I wouldn’t have offered if I minded,” You assured her with a grin.

“Good, that’s g-great I can…” Alphys started mumbling to herself as she started messing with the box again and your soul slowly shifted back to cracked glass and faint green. She looked up from the box long enough to gesture your soul back into your chest, but the moment it started floating towards you her attention was focused on the box again.

You raised an eyebrow as your soul returned to it’s spot in your chest, and Alphys’s eyes widened and she started messing with knobs and buttons again.

“W-would you m-mind if I…?” Alphys made a waving gesture with her hand, still focused on the box.

You grinned faintly, “Go ahead Alphys, I’ll let you know if it starts to hurt or anything.”

~

Asgore walked with Sans outside, but did not immediately begin speaking. Instead he walked over to the rose bush where he’d first threatened to kill you, then over to the various bushes and plants you had along the back fence.

“Your human loves their garden,” Asgore mused, “It speaks well of them.”

“yeah,” Sans agreed, “my _____'s a really good person.” He couldn’t resist pushing it at Asgore a little, reminding the king that you were Sans’s human and he loved you, and he wouldn’t let anything hurt you. Not even his king.

“They are,” Asgore agreed, then sighed heavily, “Sans, do you believe that your child has enough access to your and _____’s magic to form the barrier again if need be?”

Sans shrugged, not looking at the much taller monster, “dunno. i’m not even sure how they did it in the first place.”

Asgore considered, “Would you and _____ be opposed to testing it, once they are better?”

Sans scowled, “i don’t know, we don’t know why they did it in the first place and i’m not eager to make my kid a lab experiment.”

“A lab…?” Asgore looked at Sans in genuine surprise and confusion, “I… I am so sorry, Sans, you misunderstood me. If we can replicate it, I would feel much better about eventually sending _____ to Fight, eventually.”

It was now Sans’s turn to be surprised and confused, “what?”

Asgore smiled and slowly sat down on the grass so that he was closer to Sans’s height, “Sans, _____ is no longer human, they are a Mage, which makes them magical. Between that, their relationship with you, and their willingness to Fight for monsters, they are an honorary part of monsterkind. That makes them one of my subjects, even if they don’t necessarily consider themself so, and I will do my best by them, including making sure their mate is protected when they are at war. If you can figure out how to work in tandem with your child to summon that barrier, it will allow _____ to be much less distracted in the field of battle.”

Sans stared at Asgore blankly, “you’re serious.”

“Of course I am Sans,” Asgore sighed, “I do not always do it well, but I do try to do the best for my people. I know you do not trust me, but both you and _____ are my people.”

Sans considered the boss monster for a long time.

“it would be helpful if we had a better idea of what we were expecting,” He said finally, “i don’t know more than any other monster about normal pregnancies, and this one is different anyway to the point where only you and tori know anything about it.”

“That is not entirely true,” Asgore said after a moment, “There… there remains a monster who was not only alive at the time that Mages and Halflings were common, but who was once mated to a mage, and had a Halfling child. I reached out to him right after I first spoke with your _____, and this morning he gave me this, for the two of you.”

Asgore reached into a pocket and pulled out a thick envelope. He looked at it with a sad expression that Sans didn’t as much recognize, as he felt. It was so similar to the face he’d seen in the mirror at the beginning of every Reset, that it was a punch in the stomach seeing it reflected on Asgore’s face. The expression had not faded when he handed the envelope to Sans.

“It is funny, I believe he might have been waiting for this moment since we came back to the surface,” Asgore said softly.

“his mate, and kid…?” Sans asked softly, looking down at the envelope so he could focus on something other than Asgore’s hurt.

“Were some of the last casualties of the war before the barrier went up,” Asgore sighed, “He fought to protect them as hard as he could, but in the end not even his hammer and her magic were enough.”

“hammer?” Sans jerked his head up, “you don’t mean…?”

“The only living monster to have a mage mate and a halfling child was Gerson.” Asgore confirmed.

Chapter Text

By the time Sans and Asgore came back in, Alphys was tucking the box away and had gratefully accepted the notebook you’d grabbed from your junk drawer and was frantically scribbling stuff down.

“everything okay?” Sans asked worriedly, eyeing the notebook.

“I think so, Alphys was just doing some stuff with her Soul Remote and recording it before she forgot anything,” You gave Sans a bright grin, your soul warming in your chest at the sight of him.

“soul remote?”

“S-soul remote?”

Sans and Alphys asked at the same time, giving you an odd look.

“I was calling it ‘the box’ in my head for about twenty minutes before I decided that was lame,” You admitted readily, “And it acts like a remote for the soul.”

Alphys glanced back down at her notes, “It s-sort of does,” She admitted thoughtfully, "B-but it doesnt h-have all the same f-functions."

“soul remote…” Sans steepled his fingers as his face grew thoughtful, “that’s a thought actually… fast forward would never work but there might be something in there for a pause or a-a rewind…” You saw Sans wince slightly at the thought, but Alphys was watching him with eyes narrowed in thought.

“N-no, I see what you’re thinking,” She agreed, “If w-we could isolate certain m-magic and get samples, we could almost replicate the f-functions of a real remote when-.”

“-in combat, yeah,” Sans agreed, “it would be a simple matter of finding the right sort of magic and adjusting the frequency to a short distance area of effect ability-”

“-and m-making sure it didn’t affect the user as well as the intended target!” Alphys nodded excitedly, "It w-would be a simple matter of attuning it to certain s-soul frequencies a-and the Encounter magic!"

You looked up at Asgore, who shrugged. You figured he was probably in the same position you were, understanding in theory what was being said, but having no idea what your skeleton and the yellow dinosaur monster were thinking of, or how they planned to accomplish it.

“Doctor Alphys,” Asgore said gently, “Sans, perhaps another time? It is beginning to get rather late,” He looked over at you, “We are all very happy to see you up and about. I believe Papyrus and your friend Quin intend to stay the night, at the very least.”

“They are?” You frowned in confusion and glanced at Sans.

“Papyrus needs to stay because Sans is still in heat _____, and you won’t be able to use your magic for…” Asgore glanced at Alphys, who adjusted her glasses nervously.

“A-ah, according to my scan you should be okay in roughly th-three days,” She told you, then hesitated, “It, uhm,” Alphys started turning red again, “It would n-not hurt your recovery time to, ah, share your souls again.”

You shot a small grin at Sans, who was also blushing, “Understood Doctor, and, uhm, understood your majesty. I’ll be more than happy to have Papyrus staying here.”

“Alphys and Undyne will be by tomorrow, and the following day, to check on your soul and magic,” Asgore advised, “And Mettaton and Grillby will be by in their own time to discuss various aspects of magic with you.”

“asgore,” Sans said quietly, “you said roughly a month before but… do you have an exact date?”

Asgore closed his eyes for a moment, “Yes Sans… I suppose it is fair you had some forewarning… The official announcement will be made May the fourth, and we expect monsters to enter ‘quarantine’ that day. I am afraid the latest we could reason you staying would be the fifth, considering how close you are to our ‘quarantine zone’.”

“That’s just under a month,” You murmured, glancing at Sans, who nodded grimly.

“W-we think it won’t take more than a w-week to get everyone gathered,” Alphys reassured both of you.

A heavy silence sat over you for a moment, but was broken by an excited exclamation from the front room.

“I DON’T KNOW IF WE’LL FIND THE TREES WITH THE DOORS IN THEM, BUT WE CAN DEFINITELY LOOK, FRISK!”

You glanced down at Sans, whose solemn look was turning into a grin.

“We’ll deal with that when we get to it,” You said with finality, “In the meantime, perhaps we should assist Toriel and Quin in preventing Frisk and Papyrus from searching out Halloweentown?”

“might be a good idea,” Sans reached out and threaded his hand with yours, before pulling you out of the kitchen.

“Halloweentown?” You heard Asgore ask curiously behind you.

Quin had paused the movie, it appeared to be the part where Jack had sent Shock, Lock, and Barrel after Santa Clause, and was explaining the mythos behind All Hallows Eve, and Samhain before that, and why that meant the Holiday Doors weren’t real.

Drat, Frisk signed with a pout from where they were standing next to Papyrus, eyes locked on the screen as they bounced on the heels of their feet, The Underground was real when no one thought it was, can’t the holiday doors be real, too?

“They could, but you already know that monsters don’t live in a town of Halloween waiting to scare humans for one day a year,” Quin said with a shake of her head.

“BUT WHAT IF THE HOLIDAY DOORS LEAD TO DIFFERENT PART OF ANOTHER UNDERGROUND?” Papyrus asked excitedly, “A PART WE WERE DISCONNECTED FROM? IT COULD BE A WORLD OF NEW FRIENDS WE HAVEN’T HAD THE CHANCE TO MEET! CHRISTMASTOWN EVEN LOOKS A BIT LIKE SNOWDIN, THE TOWN WHERE SANS AND I LIVED!”

Yeah! Christmas town looks a lot like Snowdin, so there’s every chance that the Holiday Doors are real! Frisk agreed, bouncing around.

“Sorry guys,” You came up and leaned slightly on the couch, “Remi and I spent tons of weekends searching the forests outside town for the Holiday trees.”

“DRAT,” Papyrus sighed and Frisk heaved a heavy sigh.

“Toriel, Undyne, Frisk, I believe it is time we head home and leave _____, Sans, Papyrus, and Miss Quin to settle down for the night,” Asgore proposed gently.

Frisk looked longingly at the movie, but obediently moved to Toriel’s side when she stood.

“DO NOT WORRY FRISK, I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL WAIT UNTIL WE CAN FINISH THE MOVIE TOGETHER!” Papyrus declared loyally.

Thanks Paps, Frisk signed with a bright smile.

“OF COURSE DEAR FRIEND!”

It took a few moments to get through all the goodbyes and well wishes, including an awkward exchange between you and Undyne where she put a hand on your shoulder and told you that you were too strong to let something like this keep you down for long, but finally you were standing alone in your living room…

With Sans, Quin, and Papyrus.

“Come on,” Quin sighed, stretching, “I know you have enough blankets to make a decent makeshift bed on the floor for me.”

“Well, actually, I cleaned Remi’s room the other night so if you don’t mind the couch I could put Papyrus in there…” You suggested softly.

Quin stopped mid stretch and looked at you, several unreadable expressions crossing her face.

“I would, uhm, just need to change the sheets and blankets…” Sans reached over and rubbed gently between your shoulders, sensing or perhaps just knowing that this was something important for you.

“You cleaned Remi’s room?” Quin asked softly. You nodded mutely in response, and Quin broke into a smile that was simultaneously proud and pained, “Well in that case, I’m fine with sleeping on the couch. Do you want help making the bed?”

“Please,” You sighed in relief, “I’ll be right back with the sheets and blankets.” With quick steps, you disappeared into the hallway, leaving Quin alone with Sans and Papyrus for a moment.

Quin pounced. She scooped Sans and Papyrus into her arms and hugged them as tightly as she could.

By the time you got back Quin was waiting patiently by the door, and Sans and Papyrus were watching her with curiosity.

Outside of being skeletons, Sans and Papyrus didn’t look much alike, but seeing both of them practically glowing with some unasked question highlighted a resemblance you couldn’t see otherwise. You raised an eyebrow at Quin, who shrugged innocently.

Papyrus and Sans followed you and Quin to Remi’s door, you hesitated for half a second, balancing the folded sheets and blankets on one arm, before opening the door and leading the way in.

“Wowie…” You heard Papyrus whisper softly.

You couldn't help but smile at that. In your opinion Remi’s room was definitely worth a Wowie. It was covered, top to bottom, in every drawing Remi had ever done. Across the ceiling, paper was carefully tacked up with stars, from the childish five point stars and the big yellow moon Remi had drawn when she was three, to gorgeous galaxies that she had slaved over in her teens. The walls were plastered with pictures of you, Quin, Chris, and several other people who had been friends with Remi through school, and clustered around her desk were a couple of pictures of Robbie that looked like they had been crumpled and smoothed out a few times. What parts of the wall that were visible were painted to look like a grassy field.

“this was remi’s room?” Sans asked softly, placing a hand against your lower back.

“Yeah,” You said softly.

“Human, I Don’t Have To Stay In Here, The Great Papyrus-”

“She would have wanted you to,” You interrupted the softly speaking skeleton with a gentle smile, “Remi would-would have loved you Papyrus…” Further words failed you as a rock seemed to lodge itself in your throat, so you cast a shaky smile over your shoulder at them instead.

Everyone stayed pretty quiet as you and Quin stripped the bed and remade it, but you could see the skeleton brothers out of the corner of your eye looking at the drawings across the wall. Sans in particular seemed to be fascinated by a drawing near the window. The drawing was of you, except as an elf. You couldn’t help the faint grin that snaked it’s way across your face and Quin raised an eyebrow at you as she plopped the last pillow, with its fresh pillow case, on the bed.

“Ithilrien,” You grinned, nodding at the drawing. Quin glanced over her shoulder at the drawing and snorted.

“Of course.”

“WHO IS ITHILRIEN?” Papyrus asked, relaxed enough by your and Quin’s reactions to return to his usual volume.

“Ithilrien is me, sort of,” You walked around and reached over Sans’s shoulder to tap the picture, “When Remi was, hmm, just turned fifteen she was looking for bonding opportunities, and she found one in a series called ‘Lord of the Rings’,” Quin carefully pulled five other pictures from the wall and brought then over to you. You accepted them and sat on the bed, patting the spot next to you.

Papyrus hesitated for a moment, glancing at Sans, but Sans gave him a slight nudge, and Papyrus gently sat next to you.

“These are Merilin and Verya,” You showed Papyrus a picture of an elven version of Quin showing an elven Remi how to use a sword, “They are who Remi thought we would be in the world of Middle Earth.”

“WOWIE!” Papyrus bounced slightly, looking down at the picture, “THAT’S AMAZING _____! I HAVE HEARD OF THIS MIDDLE EARTH AND THE LORD OF THE RINGS, BUT I HAVE NOT SEEN ANYTHING ABOUT IT! ARE THESE THE SORT OF PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN MIDDLE EARTH?”

“Some of them, those are elves,” You agreed, switching pictures. Neither you, nor Papyrus, noticed Quin and Sans step out of the room, “These are Taikyus and Moliuex Took and Morra Brandybuck, they’re Hobbits which is another race that lives in Middle Earth, they’re uhm,” You couldn’t help a small giggle, looking at the picture of a short version of Quin apparently scolding equally short versions of you and Remi, looking dirty and unrepentant, “They’re small, much smaller than humans, but they value friends, and good food, and gardening more than anything. Remi... she used to say being an elf would be wonderful and grand, but being a Hobbit would be best… like coming home.”

You placed that picture in the bottom of the pile, and showed Papyrus the next picture, and started to explain why the stately and graceful Verya appeared to be yelling at an elf while Merilin and Ithilrien laughed in the background.

~

Sans watched Quin out of the corner of his eye as they gathered up abandoned tea mugs and took them into the kitchen.

“How bad is it really?” Quin asked softly, “I’ve seen ____ hurt much worse than that, but you… you acted like she was going to die. You couldn’t talk about magic in front of me with your king here but, I have to know, is my best friend alright?”

Sans sighed guiltily, “they… they used too much magic, all at once, and they cracked their soul.”

Quin turned the sink on, filling it with hot soapy water, began washing a mug, and waited for Sans to continue. Only her shaking hand betrayed her distress.

“souls are… are so important. a soul can survive their body breaking, even after death for humans, but if your soul breaks you vanish… forever.” Sans accepted the clean mug and dried it off.

“But you said they just… cracked it?” Quin asked, her voice obviously strained.

“yeah... they’ll be okay, but it’s… it’s a bit dangerous for them to use magic right now…” Sans stared down at the mug in his hands, trying not to think of how close you’d been to disappearing, trying not to think of a blue magic not his own desperately trying to keep your soul together.

Quin put the mug she’d been washing back in the sink and rested her head on her forearms, foamy white soap dripping from her fingertips into the sink, “Dammit,” She whispered, shoulders tense, “It was so hard keeping them alive as just an ordinary drug dealer, but being a mage…”

“I'm so sorry,” Sans said softly, wishing there was something that better encompassed the thought ‘Sorry I came into your best friend’s life, and stole a piece of their soul, and got them turned into a mage, and put their life in danger.’

Quin shook her head and slowly straightened up, “No… no, don’t be sorry Sans. It might… We might have to spend more time keeping them safe, but… but this is the most alive I’ve seen _____ in almost three years now…” Quin heaved a heavy sigh, “Yeah, about three years on the seventeenth.”

“the seventeenth of this month?” Sans asked softly, unable to hide his confusion.

Slowly Quin picked the mug back up and started washing again, “Have you noticed that there are no pictures hung up on the walls? The house is almost eerily bare, isn’t it?”

Sans frowned slightly and glanced towards the living room.

There were no pictures, the walls were empty, but there were spots here and there where Sans could see that pictures had once hung.

“_____ has been a mess since Remi died,” Quin continued when Sans didn’t respond, handing him the next clean mug, “They went out of their way to make sure that they wouldn’t be reminded of her, or have to think of her at all. I have a million photos of Remi in a closet in my apartment because they couldn’t look at them, but they couldn’t have them in the house either. I don’t think they’ve even looked at the door to Remi’s room since they got home. Remi died on April 17th, three years ago, and it was like _____ died with her. The person who came home was just a sad doll the military sent pack to exist where they’d lived.”

“but... but _____ talks about remi all the time,” Sans shook his head, setting the dry mug down, “and _____ gets sad, but they aren’t a… a doll.”

Quin gently took the drying cloth from Sans and dried her hands off, “It started with Burgerpants I think. He reminded them of something that started to bring them back a little bit but… The first time I saw _____ after they met you, it was like my best friend had come back from the dead. I tried my best, thinking maybe all they needed was for things to seem normal until they could adapt, but what they needed was… you, Sans. Maybe it’s the idea of having a future with you, or of having a reason to look forward to the future, but slowly but surely you’re healing them.” Quin turned to Sans, smiling tremulously, “So, I’m scared about the magic and stuff, but I can’t be upset about your coming into their life, because I don’t know how much longer they would have lasted without you.”

Sans stared at Quin, his arms hanging limply at his side. He had thought… he had thought he was a burden on you, he had brought countless complications into your life, he had totally disrupted any sort of pattern your days may have had, and he had stolen a piece of your soul, but…

Your soul was overlaid with the image of Remi’s death, and the time between her dying and you meeting Sans was empty. The You that Quin described, sounded nothing like the You Sans knew… so maybe there were some truth to Quin’s words.

“Where’d you two- Quin, Sans! You don’t have to do the dishes!” You protested, peeking into the kitchen.

“Wanted to keep my hands busy for a few minutes,” Quin said with an easy smile, “Did Papyrus get tired of Remi’s fanfiction already?”

“Actually,” You pulled out a well loved paperback, “He wanted to borrow the book so he would understand the world better, I’m giving him The Hobbit.”

Sans felt a soft smile settle on his face, “oh man, paps loves stories, you might not get that one back.”

“That’s fine,” You ginned, “I have a couple of copies, we were reading them together, Quin, Remi, and I. You two should come read the first chapter with us, I’ll finish those when we’re done.”

“Go ahead,” Quin bumped Sans lightly with her hip, “I will finish these up, you’ve already made a mess today,” She directed the second part at you, her eyes slightly sharper than they had been, and Sans realized that while his and Quin’s heart to heart was finished, there was still a Confrontation to be had between you two.

“... sure Quin,” You said softly, “You coming Sans?”

“yeah, i’m coming,” Sans glanced at Quin, but she waved him on, so he followed you back to Remi’s room.

~

What had started as one chapter had turned into three, and finally you and Sans had tucked Papyrus into bed with the promise that the three of you would read more tomorrow.

Sans peeked into the living room, but shook his head and tugged you towards your bedroom, “she’s asleep, and asgore gave me something.”

“Gave you something?” You asked curiously, “What kind of something?”

“the letter kind,” Sans chuckled, opening the door.

“The letter kind? Why did Asgore give you a letter?” You frowned as you shut the door behind you, “You were talking, why didn’t he just tell you?”

“because,” Sans pulled the bulky letter out of his pocket, “it’s not from asgore, it’s from old man gerson… the last monster alive who had a mage mate and a halfling child.”

“Oh,” Your eyes went from the letter to Sans’s face. He looked as eager, and as nervous, as you felt, “Asgore told him about us… and he wanted to help…?”

Sans nodded, bouncing slightly, and you considered for a moment, before tugging Sans to the bed. Sans understood what you were doing when you pulled him down on top of you, and curled into you, laying his head on your chest.

Cuddled close for comfort, you opened the letter and began to read together

Chapter Text

I have been waiting for this day to come since the barrier broke.

I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out what I would say to you when the time came, and in the end the best thing I think I can do for you is to start at the beginning.

My first real encounter with a mage was in the war with the Dark Children, when a green souled healer named Alexandra pulled me from the very edge of death. She was a shining beacon of magic, and she fought to keep people alive just as fiercely as any of us fought to keep the Dark Children from destroying the world.

I loved her instantly.

It was my luck that we had a mutual friend in Asgore, which gave me all the excuses I needed to spend as much time with her as I could. She cottoned on to my plans quick enough. She got angry, marched up to me and said if I wanted to spend time with her I’d best make my intentions clear then and there because she wasn’t one to be played with.

I fessed up.

Everything you’ve ever been told about forming a bond? Throw it out the window Sansy boy, because it’s a whole different rodeo with a human. I was lucky, there was a whole tight knit community there to support Alexandra and I, you two just have Ol’ Gerson.

The process of mating is the same, the slow sharing of souls until your souls are as familiar with each other as they are with themselves, but the reactions are where the biggest changes are.

The first thing you need to know about mating with a mage is that it draws out one of the most basic of human instincts in your partner, Fight or Flight. For mages with defensive abilities, they’ll put their trust in their monster and flee from battle to get to their side. For mages with offensive abilities, I saw instances where it was difficult to get the mage to stop fighting, though that was mostly when they were defending their mate.

Given that Asgore has recruited your mage as his frontline fighter, I’m going to guess that you found yourself an offensive mage.

Good luck.

Given that _____ is also a new mage, they’re going to be going through some biological changes as well, though I’m sure Asgore has told you about that. Alexandra was a mage long before I met her, so I’m not exactly familiar with the process.

Bonding with another monster makes monsters relaxed, bright, and bubbly.

It makes mages tense and nervous.

It seems humans are always fighting one thing or another, and so mages are at their wariest when they are mating, and so they are of course most prone to trouble at that time. The act of sharing souls is when both are at their most vulnerable, and I know more than one mage/monster couple who chose to see the mating period out in total isolation because of how their magic impacted the world.

Alexandra and I did not make that wise decision, nor, I expect, will you have the opportunity.

Every person that a mage has strong feelings for are marked by their magic. During a mating period, friends will be more defensive of both mage and monster, and enemies will appear from the woodwork, every petty grievance they’ve ever held against the mage magnified from passive loathing into active plots of destruction as the faint magical connections they had from interacting with the mage are swollen with the excess magic that is a byproduct of the mating.

It is, in short, chaos, and through all of this the offensive side of the match will be fighting for their life, and the life of their defensive mate.

As a young mage, and a mage newly come into their powers, your mate will hopefully have few enemies, and only those they have been near since the mating process began will be marked by their magic and driven to seek confrontation.

Alexandra had many friends, but even a healer could make enemies and in our mating period my hammer saw a good amount of work.

When your bond is finally settled, Sansy boy, your magic will become much more powerful. Mage’s magic is incredibly potent and that potency will affect your own magic through the sharing of your souls. Mx. _____, your magic will be more controllable. Mage’s magics are wild and fierce, but some of Sans’s control will affect your very soul and give you more focus and reliability.

Even all these years later there are few monsters who could match me in magical strength, though it has been many, many years since I’ve had the inclination to fight at all.

I suppose now is as good a time as any to warn you of that. Despite the strength of our magic, and despite the strength of the magic of our children, that is how they killed us in the end, by killing our mates.

Monsters aren’t made of revenge and hate, we’re made of hope and love, and when the seven mages declared war on monsters, they started with us, and they started by slaughtering first the mages who had bonded with monsters, and then dusting the monsters who lost hope.

But that is much farther in the story, and I’m sure not the part that you are interested in.

When Alexandra and I chose to have our Amiliy, I never could have imagined what it would be like. From the moment of conception Amiliy was not quite aware, but she was in tune with our emotions, and she could manipulate our magic in response.

Sometimes both of our magics at the same time.

It started with Alexandra’s emotions, and responding to them, but the more time I spent with my pregnant mate and our unborn child, the more Amiliy responded to my emotions as well.

The paper here was worn slightly, as though it had gotten wet and the water was roughly brushed away

It is difficult to remember them, despite the years that have passed.

The most important thing during the pregnancy is for Mx. _____ to love you and the child both, Sans. Pretending won’t work, trying to love you won’t work, it has to be genuine emotion. _____’s magic will be incredibly affected by the emotions they are feeling at this time, and if the magic that the child feels and takes in isn’t filled with love, something will begin to change.

If it becomes an issue, come to me and I will do my best to assist, though you have my sincerest hopes that the occasion never arises.

But a child filled with love is a genuine joy. Monsters and Mages called them Halflings, but they were wary of them. We could have told anyone who asked that the halflings, our children, were the purest beings. Imagine a creature made entirely of love, with the strength and power of a mage, and the finesse of a monster.

Their biggest flaw was, ultimately, why none of them survived.

Our children could not fight. It wasn’t a choice, or an inclination, they simple did not have the ability to fight anyone.

It wasn’t that they were naive, or thought that fighting was barbaric, or any other reason a person might have for not fighting.

They just couldn’t do it. They were incapable of committing violence. They were too good, too pure. 

That is what you’re bringing into the world. A child who will heal, and protect, and love, but who will be completely unable to fathom the idea of committing intentional violence, even to protect themselves.

In a Confrontation they don’t even have the option to Fight.

Something had been written, then furiously scratched out here.

You will feel interactions typical for a monster pregnancy. _____ will feel slight touches against their soul, occasionally at first, but with increased frequency until the child is born. Sans, you will notice your perceptions changing. Asgore mentioned to me that your ability to see souls includes a person’s LOVE, your child should inherit that, and anyone in your sight with a LOVE higher than one will make themselves known. For my Alexandra, people appeared to have a shadow over them the higher their LOVE was.

I never met a mage whose proficiency was in fire who had a child with their monster mate, so I’m afraid your mate will be in for some surprises. I would do my best to estimate what sort of change they were in for, but it never quite made sense to my mind. A mage who was proficient on water magic, for example, found that their magic was stronger on new and full moons, while a mage whose abilities were focused around summoning weapons found that any shield they summoned was made entirely of a glowing crystal that, later, we found was native to the Underground.

Be prepared for the unexpected.

There will be many who will not understand you, and even more who will not understand your child. In the far distant past that was why Monster/Mage couples tended to group into a community. You don’t have that option, but I will always be willing to aid you.

I will stand by you for the ones who cannot anymore.

Long ago, Asgore and I agreed escaping would be pointless. I felt a little betrayed when he changed his mind, but now I think maybe he was right.

Because if you two could find each other

And humans and monsters can find a way to love each other again

Maybe it was all worth it.



-Gerson, the Hammer of Justice

Chapter Text

The ache in your chest had nothing to do with the cracks on your soul, and everything to do with your inability to go back in time to fix a wrong you hadn’t committed.

Bereft of time traveling abilities, you found the next best thing to do was to hold Sans as tightly as you could and reassure him you loved him.

“I can't imagine,” Sans said softly, “what it would be like to lose everything, your family, your home, and then go on like gerson did.”

You kissed Sans with all the tenderness you could muster, because as long as you were standing, Sans would never have to experience that loss, ever.

~

“I love you,” You whispered to Sans, “I love you and I don’t care what it takes, I will always return to you.”

Sans was holding you tightly, panting as he pressed kisses to your neck, “you have to, you can’t leave us alone, not again, not after all of this,”

~

You curled around Sans in the afterglow, basking in simple adoration for this monster that you had never expected to find, and for the first time in a long time you let yourself be happy. Things weren’t perfect, you didn’t have to look far to find things going wrong or things that could go wrong quickly, but in this moment Sans was in your arms, your family was just down the hall, and all was well. Slowly your eyes closed and you drifted off into sleep.

Your alarm went off and you nearly broke your phone as you turned it off. Sans groaned quietly against your neck and you sleepily ran a hand down his spine to soothe him.

You debated, heavily debated, just going back to sleep, but with a heavy sigh you carefully untangled yourself from Sans and stumbled to your feet.

You gently shut the door behind you and blearily made your way to the bathroom, where you shook out your customary two pills, and then wandered into the kitchen.

Quin was waiting for you, leaned up against the sink with a cup of hot tea.

“That looks incredibly Super Villain-ish,” You told her, grabbing a cup and filling it with milk, “Just so that you are aware.”

“I know, that’s what I was aiming for,” Quin said with a faint grin.

“Oh good, you succeeded.” You tossed the pills back and chased them with the milk, then sighed and gestured at Quin with the milk, “Go ahead.”

“Go ahead?” Quin raised an eyebrow.

“You’re upset, and rightly so, because I was stupid. So go ahead, have at me.” You did your best to smile at Quin, but all alone with your best friend you felt a tiny bit nervous at what she’d have to say.

“Have at you?” Quin asked slowly, placing her tea down, “Is that what I should be doing then?”

“It… seemed like you wanted to? Yesterday?” You said hesitantly, setting your milk aside in case Quin’s attack was sudden and without warning.

“Ah yes, yesterday, well there was a simple thing I wanted to do yesterday,” Quin cracked her knuckles and you braced yourself.

It was quick, and it was painful, and you could barely breathe as Quin seemed to do her absolute best to squeeze the life out of you. You heard your ribs creak ominously and you carefully wiggled your arms out of Quin’s very very firm grip to return the hug.

“You scared the holy hell out of me, and if you ever do anything like that again I will lock you in a room where I can keep you safe, war or no war,” Quin growled.

“Quin, not that I’m not happy the unearthly punishment I appeared to have been promised is a hug,” You squeaked, “But I am going to get hurt again. It’s, uhm, kind of a part of war.”

“Fine then,” Quin grumbled, “Then I’ll talk to Asgore once everything has jumped off and make him teach me magic.”

“Quin, I can’t breathe,” You would be able to think better once oxygen was once again allowed into your brain, but at the moment all you could process were the stars the color of Sans’s magic that were beginning to appear in your vision.

Quin huffed and tightened her grip for a moment more, then released you with an explosive sigh, “I’m pissed, just so you know. Not at you, I’m just… pissed in general, at the world for being so shitty… I, uh, I was online, looking up monster support groups because I was looking for some good in the world.”

You pulled Quin into another hug, careful of your suddenly sore ribs, “The world’s not that shitty, just lightly shitty, look at Officer Doyle and Officer Chase, they seemed like pretty nice people and they’re even cops!”

“Yeah,” Quin sighed, “I did find this one blogger, Lady Loxodonta, it’s a Pseudonym, but she’s been leading some protests against the contract system, she’s got a lot of monster-human relations news, and I think you’d get a kick out of her commentary on the contract system…”

“She seems pretty cool! See, good people, the world isn’t full of shit.” You encouraged Quin gently.

“I guess,” Quin sighed again, leaning into you.

You considered Quin silently, thinking of Gerson’s letter and what he’d said about your magic affecting your friends. You felt a little guilty, but Quin didn’t seem any different. She’d always been protective of you (and Remi).

“Hey,” You grinned at her, “The world isn’t that shitty in the long run. I found Sans, and it might have been in an awful  way, but at least I found him. If that doesn’t give you hope, then there’s always Papyrus. Have you talked to that guy? I think he might make make the world a brighter place just by smiling.”

“Papyrus is a sweetheart,” Quin agreed slowly, “And you have been happier since you met Sans…”

“See, so only a mostly shitty world, or a nice world with just a little shit here and there.” You smirked at her.

“You’ve driven the shit analogy down the drain,” Quin said dryly.

“I’m crap at analogies,” You told her straight faced.

Quin elbowed you for the pun and you gave her a self-satisfied smirk.

“You should take a nap, get some sleep if you were up all night being a pessimist,” You teased, though there was real concern underneath it.

“I will take a nap if you go back to bed,” Quin bargained, “You were… hurt pretty bad yesterday…”

More time cuddling Sans? You weren’t going to argue.

“Deal,” You agreed solemnly.

Quin followed you into the hallway with a pointed look on her face and you rolled your eyes at her, “Don’t forget to take your nap, too, mom ,” You murmured at her.

Quin waved you off, and as you slipped back into your bedroom, she disappeared back into the living room.

To your surprise Sans was sitting up on the edge of the bed, yawning and watching you with sleepy eyes.

“What are you doing up?” You asked carefully, sitting down next to him.

“you were up, figured it was time to be up and at ‘em for the day,” Sans gave you a sleepy grin that practically stopped your heart.

“Nah, Quin bribed me into catching Z’s, if you don’t mind sleeping for a little longer?” You hadn’t considered the idea that Sans might want to get up just yet.

Sans’s response was to grab you by the middle and drag you back into bed.

You snorted, chuckling despite yourself, and willingly went with him, rearranging yourself until you were in Sans’s favored position with his head laying on your chest, where he could hear your heartbeat.

Sans went to sleep easily enough, and while you would never turn down cuddle time, you just couldn't seem to get your brain to quiet down long enough to drop off yourself. Finally you, being careful not to wake Sans, snagged your phone and looked up the blogger that Quin had mentioned.

It took you a few tries to get the spelling correct, but finally you had Lady Loxodonta’s blog up. There was very little personal information under the subheading of ‘The elephant in the room’, but after skimming her comments on one of the articles about a governor's wife who had contracted a monster for reasons very similar to what Sans had been contracted for, you could tell that the lack of personal information was definitely for her own safety.

The more you read, the more the little knot in your chest that had been a ball of hate for your own kind started to ease.

‘Contracts-A fancy term steeped in legalese synonymous with slavery when applied to monsters.’

Here was the proof you needed that people other than you and Quin were on Monsterkind’s side.

‘Different on the Outside, similar in spirit’ Titled a picture of a group of humans working beside some monsters that you vaguely recognized as they rebuilt the burnt remains of a house.

Her most recent post made you stop and set your phone aside, wrapping your now free arm around Sans, and watching the ceiling thoughtfully.

“If I am considered a traitor to my own for upholding the values we once treasured instead of slaughtering all who are different, then so be it! I would rather live and die upon the tenets of acceptance and courage than be slave to the savage law of Sameness or Death.”

~

“_____? _____, wake up for a moment.”

You blinked blearily at Quin, who was crouched at eye level next to your bed.

“Bwah?” You asked sleepily, starting to move until Sans sleepily grumbled and tightened his grip on you.

“Don’t get up, you’re fine,” Quin beamed, “I’m going to pop over to my apartment with Papyrus and grab a few things. We should only be ten minutes, twenty at the most.”

“Kay,” You yawned, stretching as carefully as you could so as not to wake Sans, “Anything important?”

“I’m going to teach Papyrus to knit,” Quin told you happily, “I just didn’t want you to wake up and find us gone.”

You nodded, pulling Sans in closer, “Sounds like fun.”

Quin’s bounced to her feet, nodding, “We’ll leave you two alone, then. Papyrus made spaghetti, if either of you get hungry, it’s about three in the afternoon so you might think about wandering to the front room. Nothing strenuous and no magic!” She reminded you.

“Yes mom,” You answered with another yawn, “We’ll get up in a few.”

Quin smiled and ran light fingers through your hair for half a second before quietly leaving.

You blinked drowsily and smiled down at Sans, idly tracing meaningless patterns across his bones as distantly the front door closed, cutting off the faint sounds of Quin and Papyrus talking.

Sans hummed lightly under your hands, “time to get up?”

“Soon,” You said reluctantly, “But we can be lazy all day.”

“good,” Sans snuggled determinedly into you, holding you in a firm grip as he enjoyed the relaxed moment.

You looked down at him, and almost without thinking about it, your eyes wandered down to his chest where you knew he sheltered the tiny soul the two of you had created until they had enough magic to form a body of their own.

In less than nine months you would be a parent.

Somehow, the thought seemed more solid after the fight, after the little soul manifested magic to protect Sans. You had gained so much in this short time: your will to live, a love, a child, a future… You hadn’t been expecting it, or even known that you had wanted it, but now you wouldn’t give any of it up for any reason.

Your thoughts were derailed by an electrical plug at the corner of your eye, and a thoughtful frown tugged at your face as you realized you’d need to baby proof the house well before it became necessary, just so you could be sure you didn’t miss anything.

Unless you went off to fight one day and never came back.

The thought brought your half formed plans to a halt, and you considered it for a moment.

“Stay in bed a bit longer, love, I just need to wander the house a moment,” You murmured to Sans, who had already slipped into a light doze.

“mm,” He agreed softly, loosening his grip, and you slipped out of bed.

After a moment’s quick consideration, you switched out your pajama pants for a pair of soft, well worn jeans you liked to lounge in, keeping the pajama top that declared you ‘Ready to Par-Tea’ under an image of a china tea set, and slipped out the door.

You padded down the hall, pausing before a patch of uneven wall a shade darker than the rest of the hall. You reached out and lightly ran your hand over it for a moment, remembering the night of your mom had died and how you’d spent it fixing the hole you’d punched in the wall earlier that day.

You considered the patch for a long moment before heading into the front room and pulling an old, dusty photo album from the shelves. You blew the dust off and wiped at it a bit with your arm to get it as clean as you could as you walked, before dropping down into the chair and opening it up.

You looked at pages and pages of pictures, smiling at the picture of Remi in her backpack, beaming up at you on her first day of first grade, a ways beyond that was one of Remi’s High School school pictures, and the one after that one was of Quin sewing you into a blanket while you slept.

Finally you came to a stop at a picture of Your mother and father holding baby Remi between them, while you grinned brightly from around knee height in front of the same bookshelf you’d pulled the album from.

You’d like to raise your child here, in the place your father had taught you how to garden, and your mom had taught you how to cook, and you’d raised Remi. You’d like to show them how to tend the rose bushes you had planted with your father, and the berry bushes you’d planted with Remi.

You could die in the coming conflict.

Your father’s disappearance and assumed death had been the end of your mother. Some people could survive the deaths of the ones they loved, some people could focus on their children and let themselves heal over their partner’s death. Your mother hadn’t been that strong. She hadn’t been strong enough to raise you, she’d left you to your dad, she hadn’t been strong enough to raise you, and in the end she hadn’t been strong enough to cope with the loss of the man she loved.

But Sans?

You smiled to yourself. You knew Sans’s soul. He had been hurt, battered, bruised, and fractured, but through it all he had not been broken. He had faced repeats of his worst nightmare, but in the end he had still gotten up, raised Papyrus, and when he got Aboveground, he had not buckled under the pressure of keeping his brother safe. He was strong, and if you died he would hurt, he may retreat into himself, but he would not leave the child you’d made between you like your mother had left Remi and you.

You didn’t just love Sans, you trusted him.

Not that you had any intention of dying. You fully planned on winning this revolution and raising your child with Sans.

A knock at the front door startled you out of your thoughts, and you eyed it warily until you noticed a small silver key on the table in front of you.

“Forgot her key,” You snorted to yourself, putting the album down and walking to the door. “Did you get to your apartment or did you turn around halfway?” You started to ask.

Pain erupted along the side of your head, the world went white, and blood roared in your ears. You landed on your hands and knees, not sure when you had started falling.

“Should have known you wouldn't go down on the first hit,” Said a distorted voice from a million miles away, “You always did have a thick head.”

You raised your eyes to see two Sans’s standing in two hallways with horror etched on their features.

“Run!” You yelled, or whispered, or you hoped you managed to vocalize, because a second later there was another crash of pain and the world disappeared.

~

Your chest ached abominably, much worse than it had the first time, and so did your head. You didn’t remember getting drunk and doing magic, but you couldn't think of anything else that would cause you to be hurting this much. You weren’t sure why you had been doing magic after the stern warnings you had been given, but you would never disregard a warning like that again.

“Sounds like they might be waking up.”

“Good, we were really touch and go with that concussion.”

“Someone gets hit in the head with a baseball bat a few times and they get a concussion, who could have guessed?”

“Don’t use that tone of voice with me.”

Slowly you became aware of the uncomfortable position you were in, and the plethora of aches and stiffness that was your body. It felt like someone had tied you to a chair and left you there for a couple of days after having at you.

You opened your eyes slowly, wincing at the gritty feeling you couldn’t wipe away. Eyes open, you could confirm that someone had in fact tied, and then duct taped you to a chair, apparently taking no chances with your possible escape.

Carefully you raised your head. Robbie sat in front of you, straddling the back of a chair, his grin blinding, while a dark haired woman hovered in the background.

“Good Morning _____, how did you sleep?” Robbie asked, his grin sliding towards manic.

Chapter Text

You sat rigidly in your chair, glaring at Robbie and shoving all of your discomfort and pain to the back of your mind. You couldn’t afford any weakness in this position.

Robbie frowned after a minute passed and you didn’t answer him.

“It’s rude to not answer when someone asks you a question,” He tsked, slowly standing from the chair he’d been straddling, “After All, I’m just concerned for your health.”

“If you hit them in the head again, they might die,” The woman warned, “I don’t know if you cracked their skull with that bat.”

“I wouldn’t hit _____, we’re old friends. Aren’t we?” He gave you a dark smile and your glare twisted with disgust.

“I’d rather befriend a slug,” You hissed, “They’re better looking and actually have a use in the world.”

Rage twisted Robbie’s features, but then it passed and he smiled at you again. A nugget of worry burrowed in your stomach.

“I may be useless, in your opinion,” The smile brightened and he began pacing in front of your chair, maintaining eye contact with you, “But I haven’t killed everyone I ever loved.”

The nugget of worry grew.

“You’re all talk, asshole,” You hissed.

“Am I?” The smile twisted into a snarl, “You killed Remi, _____. She never would have been in the war without you, in fact you could have refused to allow her to join at all. You were her legal guardian, and when they lowered the enlistment age, you still had to have your guardian’s permission.”

You let your face go neutral. He wasn’t wrong, and it had been a thought that had tortured you constantly, that you had been so cocky you thought that as long as Remi was with you, you could protect her. You knew it was your fault Remi had died, but you would be damned if you let Robbie use that against you.

“No defense?” Robbie shook his head mockingly, “Well, maybe another example, then. Quin was a wonderful girl, wasn’t she?” Your heart stopped, but you kept your expression neutral. He was bluffing, there was never a chance for him to go after Quin before he attacked you, and Papyrus had been with her. Quin would never let anything happen to Papyrus, and Papyrus wouldn’t let anything happen to Quin. They’d protect each other

“She was kind, she helped people who needed it, and she had a network of terrifying people who would do anything she asked without question just because she helped them out a few times, and made them little blankies,” Robbie shook his head, “I wasn’t there, but the friend I had visit her told me that she screamed when he killed her, but she screamed loudest when he killed the skeleton that had been with her. It was the slut’s little brother, wasn’t it? I never met it personally, but I know that Papyrus was the only other skeleton monster in Ebott. Quin got a few hits off on my friend, but he wasn’t stupid like Dante was. He shot the monster first, then killed the human.”

“So it was you that sent Dante,” You refused to acknowledge his words. He had enslaved Sans, had apparently stalked him before that, it was obvious that you would not enforce his rules about not talking to Papyrus, and Quin was your obvious weakness after Remi.

“No, well, not directly,” Robbie shook his head, “That was someone else, but I was slightly involved. If I had sent Dante, you’d probably be dead. He underestimated you.”

“And you haven’t?” You shot back.

Robbie snorted, “If anything, I’ve overestimated you. I’ve prepared for you to flip out, to go on a rampage, to try and kill me, but I heard how you reacted when Remi died, I think we both know how this will all end.”

“You do, do you?” You couldn’t stop the sneer that crossed your face, “Listen Robbie, it’s gonna take a little more than some fucked up lies to make me flip, or whatever else you think I’ll do.”

“I know,” Robbie sighed, his face falling into mock regret, “I should have had my friend take some pictures, but he brought me a souvenir and I brought my own souvenir to convince you… but I haven’t even told you the best part of the story yet.”

“Oh please, go on,” You mocked, he had nothing real, you were certain.

“Thank you, I will,” Robbie grinned again, the same dark grin from earlier, “The best part of the story actually happened just after you… checked out, we’ll say.” He glanced at the woman who was hovering at the edge of the room, “Alice, would you go and get my souvenirs while I bring _____ up to speed with recent events.”

The woman, Alice, hesitated and looked at you for half a second, then left.

“Perfect,” Robbie sighed happily, “Now, let’s see here… I knocked your stupid ass out as you dramatically reached for your lover, demanding that it run. It tried to attack me, to get to you, and so I had to use my bat to dissuade it,” Robbie walked around the chair and straddled it again, eyes locked on your face, “Imagine my surprise when, somehow, a magic shield appears to stop my bat and it actually gets a hold of you for a second.”

That certainly explained the ache in your chest. You were glad the Little Soul didn’t pull enough magic to kill you, but you were gladder still that they had protected Sans.

“I was more than a little surprised the little whore could still use magic, but who am I to question a creature fighting to get to the one it loves?” Robbie sneered, unaware or uncaring of your relief, “I, of course, took a moment to consider the best course of action, and then I hit the shield again,” The sneer faded back into a smile, “And again,” The smile grew, “And again, and then a few more times. In fact, I hit that pretty little shield so many times that it just… disappeared and instead of hitting the shield I found myself hitting a skeleton.”

Your stomach cramped. ‘He’s lying,’ You told yourself, clenching your jaw to keep from screaming at him, ‘He’s lying to rile you up.’

“And by that point,” Robbie continued, “I was a little ticked off, so I hit it again. I would have hit it a couple more times, maybe, but… well, it wasn’t an issue.”

The door opened, but neither you nor Robbie looked. Your jaw started to ache a little with the force you were applying to it.

“Robbie?” Alice asked hesitantly.

“Thank you, Alice,” Robbie beamed, accepting the items from her and standing.

You broke, and the cramps in your stomach were replaced by a falling sensation.

Robbie’s ‘souvenirs’ were a jar and a broken knitting needle.

The knitting needle was silver, with a simple gold colored etching that read ‘Quin’, but the gold of the etching was covered in what looked like dried blood. It was half of Quin’s favorite pair of knitting needles, and you didn’t need to look to see the faint wear and tear on it from hundred of stress projects passed.

The pair of needles had been a birthday present to Quin from Remi, and they never left Quin’s apartment. Seeing it here, broken, and being held by Robbie felt wrong on an intrinsic level.

You focused on the needle because you didn’t want to look at the jar. You didn’t want to acknowledge the jar, or even think about it.

The last time you had seen that particular jar it had been on your bedside table, full of pennies. The blue roses carefully painted on the sides had always been a pretty contrast to the copper pennies.

Now the roses stood out starkly against the silvery color of its contents.

You felt faint and dizzy, and no matter how many times you told yourself that Robbie was a lying piece of shit, you couldn’t dismiss the feeling of your stomach dropping or your heart starting to crumble in your chest.

“The needle’s broken, and the jar is only half full,” Robbie said from a million miles away, “There was a lot and I was in a hurry so I just scooped, but I thought that this much would make a nice trophy regardless.”

You had seen monsters die in the Underwar. Your only thoughts had been to protect your sister, but others were there to kill. Monster dust looked different to regular dust, and it felt different, too. It was a touch too shimmery, almost reflective in the light, and it felt eerie.

It felt like death.

The jar being held tauntingly in front of you felt like death. It was almost the same color as the dust you had seen in the war, but with Robbie holding the jar out for your inspection, you thought the dust looked just a touch blue.

“You lying asshole,” You snarled, all pretenses at being unbothered gone out the window, “If I wasn’t already going to kill you for enslaving Sans, I would have killed you for this charade.”

“_____, _____,  _____,” Robbie sighed, setting the jar and needly down on the chair and turning it to face you, “You don’t get it, do you? I’ve won. I’m not trying to get you on my side, I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I want you to realize what’s happened, I want you to lose all hope, and I want you to fade into nothingness, but if you refuse to believe, if you rail at me and plan on exacting revenge to keep you going, I’ll just kill you, too. You’re tied to that chair with the strongest rope I could find, and over that I’ve layers upon layers of duct tape. We’re in a warehouse at the edge of town where no one expects anything bad to happen because it’s in use, but anyone who can hear you scream doesn’t care.” Robbie shook his head like a parent disappointed in a child, “You got my Remiera killed, you got your best friend killed, you got a skeleton monster you knew a week, at most, killed, and you got a monster whore you’d fallen in love with killed.” Robbie crouched so he was at eye height with you and beamed, “I’ve already won, and my prize is your death.”

You forced your face into a neutral expression again and looked away, staring at a dull, brown wall.

Robbie reached out and jerked your head to face him, "How does it feel?" He asked softly, "How does it feel to know everything you love is gone, and I'm still here? The one you called useless, worthless? The man you ripped from your sister? If Remi was still with me, she'd be alive right now."

You spat in his face, too furious to reply.

Silence hung between you for a long time, and you silently debated if you get lean far enough forward to bite his nose off.

“You need time to process,” Robbie allowed, wiping his face, “I’ll leave you alone… well, mostly.” He gestured to the jar and the needle, “You can always talk to them, if you get lonely.” Robbie chuckled darkly and walked out of the room without another glance back. Alice hesitated behind Robbie, casting you a thoughtful look, before following him.

‘He’s lying,’ you told yourself with grit teeth, refusing to look at the jar sat tauntingly on the chair, ‘He’s a lying scumbag with no redeeming qualities. He’s just trying to hurt you. He stole the jar from your house, he desecrated some poor monsters grave, and now he’s watching to see if you’ll break.’

You needed to get out. You needed to get home and assure yourself that Sans was fine.

You took a steadying breath and started shifting yourself, looking for any give, any weak point that would give you space to work.

There was nothing. Duct Tape on top of ropes made it hard to breath, let alone find any wiggle room. You clenched your teeth in frustration, and without willing it your eyes drifted to the jar on the chair.

What if it was Sans? What if the monster you loved so much was gone, nothing put a pile of dust in your living room and this jar?

You jerked your shoulders, struggling to weaken the bonds again. You would not believe that was Sans, you refused. You would get out of here, and you would go home where Sans, Quin, and Papyrus would be waiting, safe.

The door opened again and a snarl half formed on your lips before you saw it was Alice again. You settled for glaring at her.

She was carrying a cup with a straw, a couple of granola bars, and a weird looking pen. She paid your glare no mind as she closed the door behind her.

“You’ve been in and out of consciousness for about a day and a half,” She told you, her voice different from how it had sounded when Robbie had been there. It wasn’t soft, and it had dropped an octave.

Then her words registered and there was a twinge of guilt in your stomach. You had asked Sans to give you a day to get back to him if anything happened, but that deadline had already passed. It seems you were always going to be just a little late in getting back to Sans.

“It was a little touch and go in the beginning,” Alice continued, walking over and holding the straw to your lips. Your glare faded as you watched her in disbelief. Alice waited patiently with the straw by your mouth for a few seconds before sighing, “There are no cameras or microphones in this room, yet. Robbie plans on setting one up later as a mind game, because he's a dick. For now, if you’re going to be of any use, you’ll need something to drink and something to eat for energy.”

“What are you doing?” You asked, and as you spoke Alice stuck the straw in your mouth. Hesitantly you drank, but kept your eyes on hers.

“I’m helping you,” She murmured, “You think your Sans was the first monster to be drugged? Robbie is a dick, but Dex is a cruel, _____, He’s experimenting on monsters. A little meth here, some speed there, it was only a few months ago that it occurred to him to contract monsters before he started experimenting on them. Your Sans was the second monster to receive ecstasy… My Muffet was the first.”

You stopped drinking and looked closely at her. Alice looked almost like a secretary, dressed in a nice dress shirt and a pencil skirt. Her black hair was tied in a no nonsense bun, and the glasses perched on the end of her nose did nothing to obscure her intense green eyes. She looked like any secretary in any office in the world, but as close as she was to you, you could see that most of all she looked tired.

But in her eyes you saw a familiar rage.

Alice, seeing that you had no plans to continue drinking, took the cup and set it on the chair, well away from the dust filled jar. She considered for a moment, then set the granola bars next to it, and started fiddling with the pen until a thick blade emerged from one end. You kept your eyes sharp on her, but she stepped around behind you and you felt her cutting through the duct tape to the rope that bound your wrists.

“Do you-” You couldn’t stop yourself, you couldn’t hide the pleading in your voice, “Do you know if he was lying? About-about Sans? And Quin and Papyrus?”

Alice cut next to your right arm, freeing it, then pressed the pen knife into your hand.

“I don’t know, I’m so sorry. I’m Dex’s personal assistant right now, I don’t get out a lot because he trusts me, but not enough to let me go out, too many hands in too many pots. All I know is Robbie brought those in with you.” Alice murmured apologetically, “Try to take the granola wrappers with you, when you get out of the room you’ll need to keep low. We’re on the second floor, if you go left you’ll find stairs, and at the bottom of the stairs is a door outside. I wish there was more I could do for you, but… I’ve come too far, I can’t let my cover get blown until Dex is dead.”

“Not that I’m not grateful, but if you’re so close, why would you risk it to help me?” You asked quietly, using the knife to cut your left arm free, accidentally nicking the back of your hand in the process.

“Because there are so many terrible things happening here, in the dark where they think they’re safe, that I will never ease the weight of the sins from my soul,” Alice whispered, “Because Dex is just indulging Robbie in his hatred of you, and if you escape he might stop indulging Robbie… Because it’s the right thing to do, and I don’t have the chance to do that often, anymore.” She walked quickly to the door and took a deep breath, “Get back to your mate safely, _____.”

“Alice,” She paused just before opening the door, “Alice, thank you.”

She didn’t move for a moment, then turned back and grinned at you. Her hair went from black to red, her pale face was suddenly covered in freckles, and she seemed to lose a few inches of height, “My name is actually Blake, and someday I’d like to meet you again. Be safe.” Her hair turned black again, the freckles faded into nothing, and as she took a steadying breath to leave, her height returned.

You stared at her back, and then the door when she closed it behind her, in disbelief, a million questions that you had no way of getting an answer for whiling in your head, before you remembered where you were and what you were doing. You finished cutting yourself free, the duct tape over rope actually making it easier to get everything off once you’d cut through it, and slowly stood, wincing as your stiff muscles protested the movement.

You grabbed the water, taking another drink, and then shredded a wrapper on a granola bar and made quick work of it, sticking the wrapper and the other granola bar in the pocket of your jeans.

Then, with growing trepidation, you pulled out your soul.

It looked bad. There was a tiny bit of color, but the cracks you’d put in it were so much worse, and there were hundreds of new cracks centered on the chip. You stared at it, heart aching, as you wondered if that’s the kind of damage someone received when their mate and child died pulling on their magic.

You put your soul back with a firm shake of your head. That damage was because the little soul had been forced to pull on your magic when you had next to nothing and had already hurt yourself. You’d take all the cracks in the world if it meant Sans and the little soul were safe. You held Ali-Blake’s knife firmly in your left hand and you started for the door.

Then, before you could reach the doorknob, stopped.

Sans was alive. He was. You had to believe it, but…

You went back for the jar, tucking it safely into the crook of your elbow, and then quietly opened the door a crack, peered through, and slipped out.

You were in a hallway. It stretched onto your right and around a corner, but to your left were the stairs Blake had promised. You shut the door behind you and slowly slunk down the stairs, keeping each step as quiet as possible. You peered around the corner at the bottom of the stairs, but the main floor is dark, save for the light that leaked from the bottom of the stairs, illuminating the door to freedom.

For a very long moment you waited. Waited for Robbie to come out of the darkness, waited for the other shoe to drop, waited for anything to happen…

But nothing happened. Everything was still and quiet.

You slipped outside and were greeted by more darkness, though this was alleviated by the moon and stars in the sky. You hunkered down close to the door and peered around, trying to find any cars or anything to assist in your getaway.

There weren’t any, but it was okay because you recognized where you are now. You were on the outskirts of town, but you were only an hour or so from home if you made good use of several shortcuts. You straightened up and started for the road when the door opened up again behind you.

“What the fuc-”

You spun and lashed out with your right hand, punching Robbie square in the throat. He choked and fell back against the door, hitting it with an unnaturally loud bang and fell back inside the warehouse.

Fury overwhelmed you and you followed the punch up with a kick in the face, ignoring every protest your body made at the action. You moved to kick him again, but Robbie had recovered a little bit and he grabbed your ankle, trying to unbalance you.

It doesn’t work, but you have enough momentum to break his grip and bring your bare foot down in his chest as hard as you can. Robbie grabbed your leg and twisted, making you fall to the floor with a grunt, but he let go and you scrambled to your feet.

Robbie was on his feet, too, but he didn’t look good and he was trying to retreat back into the warehouse. You grabbed the front of his shirt with your left hand, the jar balanced precariously between your upper arm and your chest, and went to punch him in the face again. He reached up, grabbed your arm, and stopped you before you could actually hit him. With a snarl you jerked your fist into a different position and jammed the pen Blake had given you into his left eye.

Robbie screamed that time, loud and piercing, and you swore as you start to hear voices in the warehouse. With a growl you yanked the bloody knife from his eye and let Robbie fall bonelessly to the ground as you turned and took off running, readjusting the jar to make sure it didn’t slip out of your hands.

You push as hard as you can, not willing to take any chances, barely glancing at street signs as you adjusted your path to the quickest route home. You were dimly aware of your feet getting cut up as you stepped on a broken bottle someone hadn’t bothered cleaning from the sidewalk, and your lungs ached desperately for air you refused to stop for. You were on a mission, you had to get home.

Sans would be there, he had to be there… but if he wasn’t…

If Robbie had actually killed Sans, and Quin, and Papyrus, it would break you. You’d hold on, you’d fight for monsterkind and by all the powers that existed you’d win the war barehanded if you had to… but after that…

You’d known, the moment Remi died, you’d known you were just as weak as your mother had been. You would fight to make sure something like this never happened again, but beyond that you couldn’t picture trying to go on, trying to live after Robbie had taken everything worth living for from you...

You did have something worth living for, though. You refused to believe that there was a pile of dust waiting for you at home instead of a skeleton with a sweet smile and a pun at hand.

You’d get home to Sans, you would help Asgore make his rebellion a revolution, you would change the world and then you’d keep fighting, keep changes happening, until the world was a place that deserved people like Sans and Papyrus, a place that your child could grow up happy.

A jolt of familiarity shot through you, and you realized you were on the street that Dante’s gang had hung out most of the time. Despite your aching feet and lungs, you started running even faster, determined to get home.

When your house came into view, you didn’t bother with the front door. You gathered yourself and sprung, grabbing the top of your fence with your right hand, the knife in your pocket for awhile now, and boosted yourself into your garden. You ina a roll, protecting the jar from the fall by holding it close, and when you finally came to a stop it took everything you had to climb to your feet, but somehow you did. Moving slower now as you gasped for air, you stepped into your greenhouse, grabbed the spare key for the kitchen door, and limped to the back porch.

The kitchen door unlocked with a soft click and you limped inside, leaving bloody footprints on your kitchen floor.

“Sans!” You gasped out, heading straight for the hallway, “Sans!” You started to turn left to your bedroom, but something caught your eye down the right side.

You stopped moving, totally frozen in place, then turned your head and forced yourself to accept what you were seeing.

There was a line of Dust in the hallway, leading in from the front room.

You couldn’t stop the whimper that rose in your throat and you limped down the hall to look into the living room.

There was a pile of dust, missing a scoop from the top that perfectly matched the edge of the jar in your arms, just a step out of the hallway. Your mouth was dry and you sank wordlessly to your knees, the determination that had gotten you this far disappearing like smoke in the wind.

Robbie hadn’t lied. Sans was dead, which meant Quin and Papyrus were probably dead, too.

Chapter Text

You were sure how long you sat in the same position, lost in your grief, before the rage set in. Maybe you were weak, maybe someday you would fade away into nothing like your mother had, but right now there was a man enslaving people to test illegal drugs on them. Dex had hurt people with his actions, was hurting people, and he would continue to hurt people until he was stopped.

You hated that you were basically helpless, your only weapon was the penknife in your pocket and the wickedly sharp hunting knife you’d bought for protection after you’d pawned your dad’s gun years ago. You grabbed it from the drawer in your bedside table, barely registering that at some point you had stood up and made your way to your bedroom, determinedly ignoring the small pile of pennies on the floor and the way your bed was messily made, like the last person who had gotten out last was unfamiliar with making beds, but trying anyway.

You had to stop and breath for a few seconds when it felt like the (grief) rage would choke you, but you wrestled it down as you pulled on socks and your old combat boots.

You had two knives, your fists, and…

And a jar of honey brimming with your magic in the cupboard.

You hesitated at the thought. None of your monster friends had mentioned monster food as an option for fixing your soul, but the little soul had managed to pull on and use what you had generated before…

Well.

It wouldn’t hurt to try, and you weren’t planning on leaving anyone who would tell other humans anyway.

Dressed and armed, you headed into the kitchen, again forcing yourself to ignore the lingering vestiges of the people who had been in here last. There was a pan set to soak in the sink, long since forgotten, and the water in it was murky and red, stirring unpleasant images in your head.

You shook your head determinedly and opened the cupboard, scooping out the honey. With barely a thought your soul hovers in front of you, pale and cracked, looking exactly how you felt.

A spoonful of honey turned you green again. The cracks themselves were untouched, but the color of your soul was a glowing green once more.

Very carefully you pulled at your magic, layering fire over your hand like a glove and watching your soul like a hawk.

A weapon was useless if it killed you before you could do anything.

It hurt, oh did it hurt, like a hundred thousand knives cutting and cauterizing all over at the same time, but your soul didn’t shatter and your rage was greater than your pain. You extinguished the fire, took another, small, spoonful of honey, and walked back into the living room.

Your photo album sat on the coffee table, untouched. Next to it was the jar of Dust, you’d only barely been able to stop yourself shaking as you’d set it gently down before going to your room. You took in the blankets bunched at one end of the couch with a spare pillow, the paperback lying on it’s page to preserve the reading position for a reader that wouldn’t return. Part of your living room was a moment in time, paused until the family that lived there could return and pick up where they left off.

The Dust by the hallway was a stark reminder that this particular family would not be picking up where they left off.

You couldn’t move for a long minute. You stood in your living room, unable to stop yourself for, just a moment, getting stuck in a loop of Why.

Why did this happen? Why did it have to happen to Sans? Why did it have to happen to Quin, to Papyrus? Why were people so focused on destroying and hate?

Why did you have to care and let yourself get hurt?

It took longer than you were comfortable with to get out the door.

~

They were moving.

The warehouse you’d left in the predawn hours was a bustling hive of activity now. Ten men were ferrying crates from the warehouse to a U-Haul, and supervising them was a pissed off looking Robbie, who had not made it to the doctor’s yet you noted by the makeshift bandage on his eye. It had almost undone you, the sight of him as you crept along. You’d almost lost track of why you were here in favor of the satisfaction of driving one of your knives in his other eye. It had taken several minutes of hiding in an alley and forcing yourself to push and push and put up a block to any emotion before you could think and start to plan.

You wanted to find Blake first. Dex was the one running this sick show, and she had personal interest in assisting in his downfall in particular.

You took a deep breath to prepare yourself, and opened up your magic to sensing the area around you.

It hurt, it hurt like a punch to the face, but your soul didn’t hurt half as much as your heart did so you dogged on, mentally tagging every life you felt and looked for something, anything, odd that would make Blake stand out.

You found it in a purple soul that shone, that sang like the rain to your magical senses. It was purple, but it was every shade of purple and changed even as your magic brushed against it, taking on a sickly color that might have been what purple and green made mixed. She was upstairs in the same room you had been in, and as soon as your magic brushed hers, Blake reached back tentatively. With no idea what you were doing, you pushed at her, trying to convey what you were up to, what you were planning, and some of it must have gotten through, because you felt excitement pulse from the purple soul.

Then you were overloaded with Purple. It was in your soul and in your mind and it pushed through the fire that made up You so fiercely you started to fear you had made a mistake, that Blake had been an enemy all along, but then the purple began to recede a little bit.

Leaving you completely invisible.

You looked down at where you should be, and tried to avoid the swooping nausea that threatened to overwhelm the you that was not there.

A faint tug drug you from your near panic, and you followed without thinking, trying not to look at pieces of you that weren’t there.

Holy shit, you had no idea you paid so much attention to your nose. It’s absence almost distracted you enough to run into a man walking through the door instead of through the big open doors like all of his comrades.

You silently shook your head to rid yourself of the distracting thoughts, and followed the odd tug that, now that you’re paying attention, is essentially a thin strand of purple light leading you back up the stairs to the first door on the right.

“Oh thank fuck,” Blake slumped to the wall as you entered, looking unhealthily pale under her freckles, “I didn’t know how much longer I’d be able to hold that up.”

Blake looked rough, much rougher than a few hours should have made her.

“What are you?” You demanded, “You-you changed-and you said you were on the monster’s side-and you wanted to stop Dex?”

“Before I answer that,” Blake looked intently at you despite the dark circles under her eyes and the way her red hair fell in lanky, messy strands from the bun that had been pristine the last time you saw it, “You’re here to kill? To kill Dex?”

You set your jaw, remembering the pile of Dust in your living room, and eyed her, “I’m here to stop him. If that means killing him, then so be it.”

Blake laughed quietly, a broken sound on the edge of maniacal and hysteria, “Okay, good. As long as you give me-just-” She shook her head, “I’m a mage. I’ve been one for… two years? A year and a halfish? I met a monster… Muffet, I met Muffet and she was the best thing that could happen to me, the best thing… the greatest good I could have imagined. She…” Something painful twisted Blake’s expression and she shook her head, “Well, it’s been awhile, but it feels like no time. I’m a defensive mage, I can change myself. I’m limited, I can’t do anything I don’t have the, err, the ingredients for? And apparently I can overwhelm another mage’s gift and turn them invisible.”

You stared at her, “How… How did you figure that last one out?”

“I just did it, with you,” Blake responded dryly, “You good to go? Because we’ve got half an hour before everything and everyone-” Her eyes flashed purple, “-will be leaving at that time. I’m not a good fighter, and other than making you invisible for maybe five more minutes I’m not going to be a lot of use.” She warns.

“Five minutes at a time, five minutes all at once, or five minutes in total?” You asked thoughtfully, considering several different plans.

“In-Oh,” She nodded as one of the plans you were considering must have struck her as well, “Yeah, I could bring you up and down if I’m careful.”

You deliberated for a second, considering if you could subtly knock out everyone you’d seen on the floor, Dex (Wherever he was), and Robbie within a timeframe of five minutes.

“Dex and Robbie are my priorities, everyone else we can get after,” You determined finally.

“That’s fine,” Blake said instantly, “Dex and Robbie… and then it would be a good idea to go after the monsters.”

“The monsters?” You asked, feeling a shiver run down your spine. You had felt them, but in your slightly compromised state of mind, you hadn’t really thought about them or why they’d been here. Blake had said that there had been experiments, and if Sans was only the second monster on ecstasy, that still left so many drugs for Dex to try on others.

“There’s thirteen in various rooms of the warehouse and one upstairs,” Blake told you, eyes calculating, “Their contracts…” She smiled, a slow smile, “If they leave the Warehouse unescorted by their contractor, they’re free.”

You thought on the condition for Sans’s freedom and considered Blake with wary eyes, “Are you sure? It seems too g-”

“I wrote them!” Blake hissed, self loathing so loud in her voice, and eyes, and soul that for a second you take a step back in shock, then the self loathing is gone, buried under the ever changing-ness of her soul, “Gods help me, but I wrote them, and I laughed ‘Won’t it be so funny?’ I asked, ‘For them to know they’re so close to freedom, but none of them will reach it?’ I told myself-I told myself it was a chance, that I’d get them out but-”

With a start you realized that Blake was half hysteric, that the woman you’d been talking with was half a second from falling from the cliff of coherency.

“Hey,” You said soothingly, “I’m here, I’m right here Blake, can you focus on me? On my voice?”

She looked at you, and took a few desperate breaths before the shaking you could see in her hands faded, and she looked calmer.

“Sorry, I’m so-sorry,” She scrubbed a hand across her face, “It’s-I’m bonded, honestly truly… It’s been so long since I’ve-I’ve really even talked to Muffet, it gets really hard to… to exist like this.”

For just a moment the barriers you had forcibly erected to keep your emotions at bay threatened to collapse, to push in, because you had the tiniest idea of what she meant.

“Dex first then?” You asked softly.

“Please,” Blake’s eyes flashed purple again, and you weren’t sure if her teeth getting that sharp was intentional, or if it was instinct.

“Lead the way,” You gestured to the door and Blake took a steadying breath. All at once she was the black haired woman from earlier and a quick moment of fussing had her bun back in place. She picked up a notepad you hadn’t noticed lying on the chair you had been tied to, strolling past you so briskly you almost didn’t realize she had made you invisible until she was halfway down the hall.

It took you a moment to catch up, partially because you hadn’t realized how easy it was to step on your own feet when you were sneaking, but Blake didn’t say anything or acknowledge you, so you stayed quiet. She went down the hall, rounded the corner to another hall, and then stopped in front of a door labelled with a simple plate reading ‘Dex Carmin’ and knocked twice firmly.

“Come in Alice, did you find anything out?” A voice called from inside.

Blake gave you, or rather your soul since she couldn’t see you, a quick glance, and opened the door just wide enough for you to slip in behind her.

“I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of how they got out, actually,” Blake responded as you got your first look at the man responsible for everything.

You couldn't say, now, what you’d been expecting. Someone like Robbie, your age and cruel for reasons beyond comprehension, but…

Dex looked like a dad. It was the oddest comparison you could make, but it fit. He had a head of brown hair, just faintly grey near his temples, with a pair of reading glasses perched on his news. He might well be a banker, reviewing documents at work before heading home where he’d throw a ball around with his kid and golden retreiver before going in to kiss his wife and get ready for dinner. The image was only broken by the woman kneeling beside his desk, not a leash but a small chain leading from his chair to her neck, where six other chains branched out to cuffs around the thin purple wrists of a monster who didn’t bother raising her eyes to see who had walked in. Looking as you were, with magic and not just your eyes, you could see another tether, but this one ran from her chest to Blake’s.

Suddenly, Blake’s hysteria made a lot more sense.

“Well, don’t leave me hanging,” Dex smiled, beckoning to a chair, “We’re in a rush to get everything out and moved, Alice love, no time to dawdle.”

Blake smiled, but it was cold and didn’t reach her eyes, “After some searching I’ve determined our guest was definitely let out by someone, it was an inside job.”

“Dammit,” Dex swore, “I thought we had gotten the last of the sympathisers out with that moron Tony. Do you have any idea who might have done it?”

“Oh, that was me.” You barely blinked and Blake was herself (or what you thought was herself). Like a silk sheet the invisibility fell from you and Dex jumped to his feet.

“Alice, what the fu-”

You could let this drama happen, the betrayal, the banter, but the moment Blake had dropped her Alice disguise, Muffet had looked up, eyes wide with such a combination of fear, hope, and heart shaking adoration that lunging forward, grabbing the silver chain leading her to Dex, and incinerating it in your hands was more a subconscious act than a conscious one. Blake barely had time to register Muffet’s freedom before the spider monster was on her, wrapping her in a fierce hug for half a second before she shoved the mage behind her and bared venomous fangs at Dex in a clear warning.

“_____,” Dex said flatly, eyeing Muffet and Blake with a mixed expression of betrayal and disdain, “I’ve heard so much about you.”

You take a deliberate step so that you are between Muffet and Dex, in case he had a weapon. You thought that Blake’s pain was the same, but as happy as you were that her mate was alive, it couldn’t kill the little bubble of resentment that Blake got a happy ending, and yours was lying in your front room.

“I’ve heard about you, too,” You snapped, “You’re the sick fuck who drugged my mate and got him killed.”

“‘Mate’?” Dex’s lip curls, “Look at you, both of you. Perfectly healthy people, with plenty of perfectly wonderful human options and you both found your ‘one true love’ in the arms of a monster, a beast.”

“They’re better than you!” Blake snarled from Muffet’s arms, “A better person than you could ever have hoped to be!”

“I WAS A BETTER PERSON!” Dex roared, “I WAS THE BEST PERSON! I WENT TO CHURCH! I TOLD THE TRUTH, I HONORED MY MOTHER AND FATHER, I COVETED NOTHING AND WHY SHOULD I? MY LIFE WAS PERFECT! I HAD MY WIFE AND MY SON, AND THEN THOSE-THOSE THINGS MURDERED MY LITTLE BOY FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR ‘FREEDOM’! I HATE THEM! I’M GLAD YOUR STUPID FUCKING SKELETON IS DEAD, I HOPE THAT SPIDER BITCH DIES, I HOPE THEY ALL DIE!”

You’d heard more than you came here for.

“Is Muffet’s contract the same?” You directed over your shoulder, eyes never leaving Dex.

“No,” Blake said, but her voice was triumphant, “Muffet’s contract is mine, in the case that Dex dies in anyway that isn’t spider related.”

“Alice,” Dex looked so thoroughly betrayed that the expression on anyone else would have had you hugging them, “You were like a daughter to me, why would you do this?”

“You did this to me first!” Blake hissed, “You took my Muffet, my mate, my wife! And you experimented on her. ‘This much ecstasy does this’, and ‘Watch, if you give her an overdose it doesn’t end naturally ’,” The rage in her voice in palpable, “Every moment, every word, everything I told you was a lie, and only the promise that if I could kill you and get out, Muffet would be safe again kept me here. Only the fucking thought that one day I’d walk away from your corpse with my mate and all the monsters you’d hurt kept me smiling everyday.”

“Alice-”

You could let this go on, let Blake try to get Dex to understand what he’d done, and let Dex Monologue his life as he tried to get you both to understand what you were doing was wrong, but you didn’t want to take a chance that Robbie would hurt the monsters in the rooms off the main floor.

You took a step towards Dex and he jumped away, reaching into his desk and yanking out a gun, “I don’t want to hurt you,” He warned, “But I will shoot you, and then I will dust that spider if you step any closer.”

You stopped, hands raised in a peaceful motion as you analyzed your options. You point blank refused to move away so he could shoot Muffet, and you couldn’t kill him, or even really disable him, without putting Muffet and Blake at risk.

Your magic might be great for fighting, but only in close combat. You were nowhere near close enough to hope fire from your skin would hurt him but…

But.

Alan’s death had been messy, uncontrolled fire that came directly from your skin, and Dante’s had been only a little better…

But Blake hadn’t needed to touch you to make you invisible.

She had only needed a brief connection to your soul.

Human mages could increase their magical potential... and when they cast a spell they could choose to use their own energy, or the energy of every human soul in the immediate area.

“Why do this to monsters?” You asked, barely stifling an irritated sigh, monologuing for time it was, “Why not just kill them, why the mad scientist routine?”

“They killed my son,” Dex enunciated like you were an idiot, “He was… he wasn’t even a teenager! He just… loved to explore, and one day he went up to Mt. Ebbott and… never came back. After the war I found out why. That thing that calls himself King stole seven souls from seven innocent children, including my son, and humanity was rewarding them? We were letting them into our cities, and our streets, and giving them rights?”

While Dex spoke you found yourself getting annoyed at yourself for your own lack of interest in your magic. You had been so wrapped up in making little fires, you hadn’t even tried searching for souls, let alone asked anyone how to do it. You couldn’t exactly turn around and ask Muffet how to do it with Dex right in front of you wielding a weapon, and you couldn’t step closer to Muffet without worrying that Dex would be able to whip out a gun and hit her without even worrying about grazing you.

“It was too much. I wanted those things to hurt like I hurt, like my wife hurt. The problem is that our ancestors fucked up, monsters know all about us and we know practically nothing. So I went about fixing that, is all.” Dex continued, unaware of what you were trying to do.

You were slightly incredulous. All this guys had needed was a poke to start monologuing. You had almost no interest in his Tragic Backstory™, you just wanted him dead and the people under him either dead or close enough that they wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone else, ever.

You just needed to figure out how to Look for his soul! It shouldn't be this hard, monsters did it all the time without even try-

The solution hit you like a smack to the face, and you almost groaned out loud.

“I haven’t found the perfect solution yet, but I will,” Dex informed you as you stopped trying to direct your magic out at him and just let it flow, “I’ll find a way to show monsters exactly how much they’ve hurt me, and then I’ll hurt them all, I’ll kill them for what they’ve done, but not until they’ve suffered as much as I have.”

You hadn’t even consciously recognized what you were doing. You had designated certain times and situations as ‘Magic-time’ and had all but locked your magic up. Monsters didn’t have to focus on seeing someone’s soul because they were magic, it ran through them like blood ran through you, so you let go of all control and let your magic flow through you.

You were instantly annoyed. The moment you let go of the mental grip you had on your magic, it filled you, easing the ever present pain in your chest and suddenly you could see/hear/smell/taste too much and then just enough and the world spun warningly on it’s axis-

And then it stopped.

Dex trailed off talking as he noticed how intently you were watching him, but you weren’t watching him, you were Looking at him.

Dex’s soul was a muddy yellow. You got the idea that it might have been a brighter yellow once, but it looked like someone had dropped it in the mud and left it there for a few days. Patches were almost more grey than yellow, and there were unpleasant brown spots like stains.

You smiled and held out a hand. Dex cocked his gun and pointed it at you warningly, “Not another step closer,” He warned.

“I won’t move,” You promised and took a deep steadying breath.

Then you Pushed.

For the briefest second green fire crackled in the air between you, then Dex clutched his chest and made an odd choking/gasping noise that rang in your ears like nails on a chalkboard. You ignored it, pushing your discomfort aside as you burned his soul, increasing the intensity of the flames when his soul started to shake and crack. It couldn't have been more than a few seconds that passed between you before Dex sank to his knees and slumped to the side, his soul immaterial ashes that faded away as he stopped breathing.

“What did you just do?” Blake asked from behind you, her tone half horror.

“She destroyed his soul,” Muffet seemed to be somewhere between horrified and excited, “What a darling, she didn’t even kill him, she all but erased him.”

You felt oddly detached, almost… calm with your magic now truly free.

“Will you two be okay to start finding the other monsters and getting them out?” You asked distantly.

“I know where they all are, we can get them, but what will you-”

“I’m going to go talk to Robbie,” You interrupted her, turning around from the slumped body on the floor and starting to walk past Blake and Muffet, “Don’t worry about anyone finding you, I’m going to keep all eyes on me.”

As you passed, Muffet reached out with one of her arms and grabbed your wrist, “Dearie? Thank you.”

You looked at her (Her soul was Purple, and Blake’s had stopped shifting so that they were exactly the same, except that Muffet’s was inverse, and it hurt so so so so much to see, to feel how content their souls were together, because it reminded you of Sans and fuck you wanted Sans to be okay so badly, you wanted to see the little soul for yourself but... ) and nodded, “I… I’m glad you’re together,” You told them as honestly as you could, then darted out the door before your emotions could burst past your walls and drown you.

The men downstairs were taking a break, a few of them had cups of coffee and were joking and laughing like they weren’t participating in enslavement and unethical experimentation on people. They’d made a terrible, awful mistake though. They had closed the big doors leading tot he trucks.

They had closed themselves in with you.

You placed a hand on your chest and knew, instinctively, that you wouldn't be able to kill all of these people the same way you had Dex, you simply didn’t have enough magic, and straining yourself at all would probably lead to more cracks, if not outright shattering your soul.

So, instead, after a few moments of deliberate deliberation, you walked onto the floor, your eyes locked on your target.

“Robbie,” You called out threateningly, “It’s time to face what you’ve done.”

Robbie spun, going white as he caught sight of you.

“Fuck-Fuck, you morons, don’t stand there! Stop them! Don’t let them get me!” Robbie snarled, backing into the corner furthest from you.

The thirteen or so men who had been standing around hardened their faces and started to surround you.

A sliver of amusement managed to crack your defenses, and you grinned, “Oh you poor children.”

It took just a minute. You darted between them with a speed that a normal human could never hope to achieve and placed one of your hands, carefully and deliberately above their chests. Your hand left, but what remained was a print of green that continued to burn, and then began to spread.

You stood directly in front of Robbie and watched his face coldly as the men behind you were consumed by green fire.

“What are you?” Robbie whispered.

“What am I?” Your shields cracked, “I’m pissed Robbie. I could murder you a thousand times, torture you a thousand more, and I wouldn't be satisfied. I could tear you apart piece by piece and I would still not be content,” You placed your hand on his left shoulder, “But Dex said something to me, Robbie, and they made me think. Do you want to know what he said?”

Robbie was a coward. He could bluff and rage at someone who was tied up, or helpless as Sans had been, but there was nothing he could do to hide that more than anything else, he was, and always had been, afraid of you.

“He told me that he wanted monsters to feel what he felt, to hurt as much as he hurt,” You turned your eyes from Robbie’s eye to his soul, “And I wonder if that’s even enough.”

Robbie’s soul was light blue, and startlingly pretty despite the asshole it represented. You didn’t push fire this time, instead you let your walls crumble, and you focused on everything you felt, on everything you’d ever felt for someone Robbie had hurt.

First was Remi, because this hurt was the oldest and the deepest. You felt your love for her, your adoration and contentment as she stopped becoming a child and started to become an adult, you empathized with her fear and anger at Robbie. The anxiety, pain, and hatred you felt for years as your precious sister was used and abused and refused any help you offered. The relief when she finally left him. The sensation that the world had lost all color when she died.

You moved from Remi to Papyrus, filling your soul with the thought of the skeleton, not just your own emotions but Sans’s as well. The unwavering pride in Papyrus, in the good he saw and was. The staggering relief when he wanted you to be part of his family, that he trusted you with his brother. The seeds of pride and love that Sans had planted flourishing under the tall skeleton’s sweet disposition and innocence. You included the horror Sans had felt when Papyrus had died the first time, and layered it with your own grief.

Then Quin, and oh this hurt was almost too much to handle. People in High School had called Quin your ‘Mom-Friend’, but she was so much more. Quin saw the injustice in the world and tried to fix it herself, and she had filled you with the love your mother simply hadn’t known how to give you, she had given you a childhood when you had to be an adult. You loved her as purely and simply as any two people could love each other without being in love. She was your best friend, your sister, your mother, and you poured this love into Robbie before washing it all away with the overwhelming loss he had caused.

Finally, last but never least, was Sans. Sans, who had punned at you before you ever had a real conversation. Sans who had gone from an attractive stranger to save from Robbie, to a friend who needed your help, to someone you would never be complete without so quickly. Sans, who had touched your soul and had accepted everything he found there. You sent Robbie your concern for him, your care, the tender feelings you had late at night and early in the morning, watching him sleep. You loved Sans with an intensity that left you breathless, and you mourned him with an intensity that was both great and terrible.

But Sans wasn’t the last, was he? Because in losing Sans you had lost someone else as well, and the reminder nearly crippled you.

You hadn’t known what Sans had done when he had taken that little piece of you, he hadn’t known what he had done, but from the moment you had found out about them, you had wanted that little soul to live, you had wanted to show them the love they deserved. Even now, you couldn’t stop imagining the life, the future you had wanted, with a little someone who might have been a skeleton, or might have been a human, or might have been a little of both. Your house with Auntie Quin, and Uncle Papyrus, and cries of ‘No Fair’ when you and Sans snuck up on them to smother them in love. Your perfect future that was now gone.

You kept pushing until you felt empty and full all at once. Finally you pulled away, feeling like, if you felt one more thing, you would simply never move again.

Robbie looked up at you, tears streaming from his visible eye and the gauze around his other eye red as his tears mixed with dried blood.

“Did I do that?” He brokenly, “Were… all of those things…”

“Now you know exactly how I feel,” You told Robbie with a smile, gently squeezing the shoulder you hadn’t released.

When you dropped your hand, a green handprint remained, but Robbie didn’t look away from you even as you turned and walked away. You didn’t turn back, even as you heard the fire crackling louder and louder.

You didn’t make it back up the stairs. Exhausted and wrung out, you dropped and laid down on the steps, closed your eyes, and drifted away.

Chapter Text

You slept deeply and no dreams came, though you did wake up twice. The first time was when someone (You suspected Muffet, though you could have imagined the extra arms you thought you felt) picked you up from the stairs and started walking. The second time, you could vaguely remember Blake and Muffet talking about trying to contact Asgore, and you tried to tell them that, if they could find your phone, Asgore’s number was listed in your contacts as ‘Gardening Tips’, but you weren’t sure how much, if anything, you managed to convey before you were dragged back into blissful darkness.

“_____? _____, Asgore is going to be here soon, do you think you can wake up?”

You didn’t want to. You felt like you’d been put through a wood shredder and you felt exhausted and run out.

“You’ve been napping for about an hour and a hald now, I think you should stand up and walk around a little at least.”

Only an hour and a half? How could it only be an hour and a half, you felt like you’d been asleep for a week. With great reluctance, you peeled your eyes open and peered blearily up at Blake.

“Hey Sleeping Beauty,” Blake smiled faintly, “How are you feeling?”

“I’ll get back to you on that,” You croaked and groaned as you slowly sat up.

You were on a couch, which was more than a little surprising considering, if the walls were anything to go by, you were still in the warehouse.

“What’d I miss?” You asked.

“Well, Muffet and I have been helping the monsters that are in the rooms downstairs as best we could. You told us that you had Asgore’s number about… half an hour ago, and Muffet’s been on the phone with him since, getting things orchestrated so we can get the human authorities involved and the monster’s contracts broken without admitting how much you were involved.”

You nodded, bracing yourself on your knees and standing unsteadily, “I’m glad I managed to tell you I had Asgore’s number.”

“Well,” Blake grinned, “You kind of just mumbled at us for a second, but Muffet had a spider watching you and she was close enough to hear what you were saying.”

You froze and glanced around, “I didn’t squish them, did I?” You asked worriedly.

“No, you’re fine,” Blake assured you, “You feeling like you could tackle the stairs?”

“I’ll either walk down them, or fall down them, either way I’ll be down them,” You told her wryly and hobbled a few stiff steps, “Where are we, by the way?”

“My office,” Blake said wryly, “Or, what stood for an office.”

“Ah,” You said eloquently, not sure how to reply without potentially veering into painful territory. You could see she was doing her best to do the same for you, the way she purposefully avoided looking at your soul and instead focused entirely on your eyes.

“Thanks,” You added belatedly.

Blake snorted, “It’s no problem, really,” She assured you, leading you out the door and down the hallway, past Dex’s office, and then down the stairs, which you did not fall down.

On the main floor of the warehouse were monsters. Monsters who were staring at the ceiling of the warehouse in dead silence, monsters sitting in quiet corners away from everyone, monsters quietly pacing at speeds that would make professional runners jealous, and monsters shaking as they spoke quietly to the silent monsters lying down.

“Shit,” You said softly, heart going out to these abused people.

“Yeah,” Blake agreed quietly, looking morose, “We cleaned up the ash, but… they’re still in shock.”

“The ash?”

“That’s all that was left, Dearie,” Muffet came over and offered you your phone. You slipped it in a pocket silently as she continued, “Just ash, almost finer than dust. You’ll be delicious to fight when you eventually get the hang of your magic.”

“Uh,” You glanced at Blake, who was looking in a different direction and biting her lip, “Thanks…”

Muffet appraised you for a moment, her five eyes scrupulous, “Asgore tells me he has big plans for you,” She said softly, “When those big plans start, come see me.”

More mystified than ever, you were thankfully saved by the door to the warehouse inching open.

You tensed, but then relaxed when a familiar face poked in, “Oh! Oh goodness,” Asgore carefully maneuvered through the door, then surveyed everything, “Goodness, it seemed so much simpler on the phone…” Asgore looked over the monsters in various states and shook his head, then turned, “_____, it is very good to see you, we have been very worried, but I am relieved to see you are…” Asgore trailed off as he glanced down at your soul and his eyes widened.

“Does it look bad?” You glanced down, but didn’t actively look for your soul.

To your surprise, Asgore knelt so he was closer to your height, “Why did you do this?” He asked softly, a shadow of horror in his voice.

“I…” You were taken aback by his response, “I… He was doing terrible things and… and Robbie and…” Your heart, so raw from what you’d done to Robbie, throbbed in your chest, “And he killed my family, he killed Sans.”

Asgore’s expression softened and, to your surprise, he pulled you into a warm hug, “My poor child, what a terrible thing,” He said gently.

You wavered for a second, then couldn’t stop yourself from falling into him and accepting the comfort he was offering.

“Child,” Asgore murmured softly to you, “I cannot say much for what family you had before, but Robbie did not touch the family you have now. Sans is perfectly fine, the human authorities insisted he stay with your friend Quin until you were found, because she is listed as your beneficiary in your will. He has been beside himself with worry for you, and she not much better. It is all that Papyrus and Toriel can do to keep them from scouring the city in search of you.”

You froze, you weren’t sure if you were breathing, or if your heart was even beating, what Asgore had said seemed too fantastical, too unrealistic.

“But I saw the Dust?” You questioned softly, pulling back to look at him.

Asgore shook his head, looking almost as ancient as he was for a moment, “There was… well, it is a bit of a story, and one I would dare say you would prefer to hear after you were returned to your mate, but suffice to say that Dust does not belong to a monster you know.”

A frantic desperation squeezed you, “Where are they? Can I go now? Are they-”

Asgore shook his head, “They are coming, I informed Alphys as soon as I could and asked that she have Undyne alert Papyrus as to your location. I had a decent head start, but I am still surprised I beat them here.”

Sans. Quin. Papyrus.

They were alive, they were coming, you would see them again.

And the little soul, you would, you could see them for the first time.

It was almost too much to bare.

~

Asgore rubbed your back gently as you broke down in his arms. He wanted to go to the monsters scattered around the room, ignoring his presence, but he had been updated on each of them extensively by Muffet, and there was a greater danger in leaving you alone right now.

Your soul looked like it had already shattered, and then placed carefully back together before the pieces could disappear. There was nowhere on your soul that was not cracked, and even as you cried in his arms, he healed you as much as he could. It was not much, his magic had never really leant itself to healing, but it made him feel better about the horror that was the innermost you.

“Child?” He asked gently when it seemed you had cried yourself out for the moment, “You remember what Toriel told you about using your magic, do you not?”

“She said I’d shatter my soul,” You murmured, “But I used a lot and it didn’t shatter.”

“You have hurt yourself terribly, _____,” Asgore cautioned gently, “I know Tori-Toriel said before you would die, but she was exaggerating to encourage you to be careful. Now though… If you use magic again before a healer has cleared you… you will die, no exaggerations and no second chances. You must be careful.”

You nodded into his shoulder and pulled back, “I was reckless,” You admitted, slightly hoarse, “I was angry and reckless but…” You glanced over your shoulder and your soul flared a bright emerald green in your chest, “I couldn’t let him keep doing what he was doing, I’m sorry.”

Asgore squeezed you gently, filled with a relief he could not voice, “You have nothing to apologize for, I am proud of you,” He felt several sources of of magic approaching and released you, “I believe there are several someones approaching that will be eager to see you.”

You shot a wide eyed look at the door, then back at Asgore.

“Go,” He smiled.

You took off like a rocket, and Asgore smiled as rose back up to his feet.

“Your majesty.”

And of course there was still this to take care of.

Asgore turned around and faced Muffet and her mate, “Howdy,” He said slowly, not sure where to begin.

“Hello,” Blake said meekly, her soul going almost black in Asgore’s vision with her desire to hide.

“Hello,” Muffet gave him a fanged smile, taking Blake’s hand in one of hers and deliberately interlacing their fingers.

“Even Toriel told me when she awoke a mage,” Asgore pointed out after a moment, deciding that there was no room for misunderstandings right now, “Despite your position Muffet, I would prefer if you told me when you do something that has the potential to affect all of monster kind like this.”

“Dearie, it was on my way to tell you about Blake that I… well, that I became indisposed,” Muffet  admitted after a moment, “I had every intention that you would know after our bonding was complete.”

“When your bonding was complete, but not before?” Asgore pressed gently.

“She is Mine.” All of Muffet’s eyes narrowed at him, and Blake leaned into her instinctively, tendrils of purple light drifting from her soul to Muffet’s as she kept her mate calm.

Asgore considered for a moment. As much as the idea of one mage had made him panic, the idea of a second mage, especially just a shifter, was not as worrying. Particularly as she had already bonded to a monster. He didn’t really think he would have any problems with Blake.

And it was likely prudent not to give his spymaster any reason to hold a grudge.

“She is yours,” Asgore acknowledged, “But from now on I would truly appreciate information similar to this to be passed on before it becomes relevant.”

Muffet nodded her agreement, then glanced over her shoulder and seemed to sag a bit. Asgore looked past her to the hurt monsters and sighed, “Tell me everything you left out.”

~

You were rooted in place. You wanted to race out to meet the cars you could just see in the distance, but anxiety held you back.

What if it was a dream? What if it was all really too good to be true?

What if you woke up, still tied to that chair, in a world where you’d gotten people you loved killed with your own carelessness? What if you woke up in your own hallway in front of a pile of Dust that was really Sans’s?

You waited, and as they got closer your heart started beating so hard you would have been hard pressed to notice an earthquake.

The car (‘Quin’s car!’ Part of you crowed in triumph to that little voice that always insisted the world was so dark) came to an abrupt stop a short ways away, but it was obvious why when Sans stumbled out, only barely waiting for the vehicle to stop moving.

He was alive . Sans’s expression was pure determination, and you could see the blue of his soul, the beautiful wonderful blue that would be your favorite color until the end of time, shining with the force of his relief and…

And right there, next to Sans’s soul, was a much smaller soul, almost just a speck with the distance between you, but still visible, still strong.

Still alive

The anxieties that had kept you rooted in place now leant you wings as you all but flew across the distance, Sans running even harder to meet you in the middle. Your collision might have been painful, if you hadn’t pulled back a tiny bit and let Sans tackle you instead of colliding with him.

Sans clung to you so hard your back creaked in protest against the pavement, but you couldn’t care less, you clung to him just as hard, relishing in the feel of his magic reaching for you with the same fervor he did. Half a moment later, someone skid to a stop next to you, and you had just a glimpse of a soul so bright and yellow it almost blinded you for a moment before Quin had yanked you and Sans both into her arms. You leaned into her, more relieved than you could begin to say as, between the three of you, you tried to become one being.

Of course, it wasn’t just the three of you for long.

With a scream of delight, Papyrus grabbed all three of you in his arms and hauled you into the air in a triumphant hug. You found yourself smooshed next to Papyrus (Whose soul was blue, just like Sans’s, but just a tiny bit lighter), into Quin, and wrapped around Sans.

You’d never been happier.

“don’t ever do that again!” Sans said into your neck, more than slightly muffled by the force that he was holding and being held to you.

“I promised you I’d come back,” You whispered hoarsely, too choked up to manage a normal volume, “I promised.”

“WE NEVER STOPPED LOOKING FOR YOU!” Papyrus assured you, “WE ENLISTED THE HELP OF MANY HELPFUL LEATHER WEARING HUMANS TO FIND WHERE THAT TERRIBLE HUMAN HAD TAKEN YOU!”

Quin’s grip on you tightened, something you hadn’t thought possible at this point, “Where is he?” She hissed, “I’m going to murder that son of a bitch slowly and painfully, over the course of a century.”

“He’s gone,” You told her, and Sans jerked his head up, nearly banging into your chin, socket’s wide, “He’s gone,” You reiterated, meeting his eyes, “He won’t hurt anyone ever again.”

“good,” Sans said finally, leaning back into you, “i don’t want to think about him ever again, if he’d hurt you… i would have made sure he had a very bad time.”

“He gone,” You repeated, holding Sans tightly, and leaning into Quin to reassure her, “They’re all gone. This won’t happen again, I won’t let this happen again.”

“You’d better not,” Quin sniffed, “I don’t have enough time to train a new best friend.”

“_____, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE ALL OF THE RESPONSIBILITY,” Papyrus assured you, “NONE OF US WILL EVER LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN,” Papyrus’s voice dropped a bit to a dark tone that didn't suit Papyrus at all, “Ever.”

After a few more minutes of the anxiety driven too tight hug, Papyrus finally let you all down, and Quin reluctantly let you go as well.

Sans merely shifted a bit, so that instead of being right up against your chest, he was tucked against your side, your arm wrapped around his waist and his around yours.

“Will you tell us what happened?” Quin asked softly.

“Can we trade stories?” You requested instead, “There are still a few things I’m… very confused about.”

Quin agreed, and between the four of you, you managed to piece together the past 40-ish hours.

Quin and Papyrus had come back from Quin’s Place to find Robbie had backed Sans into a corner of your bedroom with a bat, there had been no sign of you. They’d managed to get the bat away from Robbie, and get in-between him and Sans, but then another many had appeared carrying a struggling Temmie.

Quin, Papyrus, and Sans had had no choice but to watch Robbie and the man walk out with a parting farewell of ‘We’ll be back’.

They had emerged to find a pile of Dust, and Quin and Papyrus had dragged Sans to Quin’s apartment so he would be safe while they called the police.

You could only assume, at that point, that Robbie and his friend had looped back to take your jar and a bit of the Temmie’s Dust, which made you even more pissed off at the deceased asshole. It was bad enough killing a monster, but to desecrate their remains like that just to play mind games with you was disgusting.

While you had been unconscious, Quin had called the police and told them what had happened. They had been no help, because, other than Sans’s testimony, there was no proof that you had been taken against your will. A citation was written in Robbie’s name for killing a monster, and another one for attacking a contracted monster, and Quin had been told that in twenty-four hours she could fill out a missing person's report. They had, at that point, raised a fuss about Sans being out and about without a contract.

Quin had not taken any of it well.

She had given the officer she’d been speaking with (Not Officer Doyle or Chase who had, for reasons unknown, been transferred to another district apparently) a piece of her mind, and told him that if his priority after someone had been kidnapped was one person not being treated like an animal, then he could-

Well, She hadn’t been happy, and had cowed the officer into writing Sans a permit to be out in Quin’s presence until you were found.

Papyrus had already alerted Asgore at this point, and he had sent Toriel and Frisk to keep them in one place in case Robbie went after any of them again.

Toriel’s assistance had mostly taken the form of keeping all three of them from breaking down the door of every building in the city until they found you. Quin had finally called on one of the town’s local bike gangs who were regulars, and who all adored her for various favors she had done them over the years, and gotten them to perform a sweep search of the town for her.

They hadn’t found you but, according to Quin, a few of them now had contracted monsters of their own after walking into one too many situations where they refused to let anyone be treated the way they were seeing contracted monsters being treated. You had needed a moment to just... be relieved that not all people were like the men you had killed today, that humanity didn't have just one or two outliers who thought that the contract system and the way monsters were treated was bullshit.

Apparently the reason no one had seen your mad dash home was because your house had been abandoned after Robbie's threat to come back. Now that it wasn't dangerous, Temmie's family would be able to come and collect their dust, which made you glad you'd not left the little jar at the warehouse where Robbie might have broken the jar in anger after you'd escaped.

And now, here you were, more or less safe.

Your bits of the story had taken a little bit longer to tell, in part because Sans got a good look at your soul just as you started telling it. It had taken about ten minutes to calm the skeleton brothers down, because once Sans had seen it, Papyrus had looked, too, and been nearly inconsolable. Then, after Sans and Papyrus were calm enough to explain what had set them off, Quin had sat down on the ground, drug you into her lap, and refused to let you go.

That had been the position you had been forced to tell the rest of your story in. Shortly after You told them about finding Temmie’s Dust, Sans had crawled into your lap, and when you told them how you had killed Dex, Papyrus had scooted so that his knees touched Quins and the parts of you that weren’t fully in her lap, were in his.

“-and then I fell asleep on the stairs,” You concluded, “Blake woke me up just a little while ago and… When Asgore got here I found out you were all still alive.”

“I’m glad they’re dead,” Quin growled, “I’m sorry you had to be the one to do it, but if you hadn’t I gladly would have.”

“IT IS A SHAME THAT THOSE MEN COULD NOT HAVE DONE JUST A LITTLE BETTER,” Papyrus said solemnly, “BUT THE CHOICES THEY MADE LEAD THEM TO THE PATH THEY ENDED ON.”

“Exactly so, Papyrus,” Quin agreed.

Sans didn’t say anything and you glanced down at him worriedly.

“i love you,” He said the moment you looked at him, “i love you, and if a hundred of those guys have to die to keep you with me, then they have to die.”

You kissed him and closed you eyes to lean into Quin. After a second you reached out to pull Papyrus in for a hug as well.

“We’re going to make it better,” You promised them, “We’ll make it so guys like that can never get as far as they did here. We’ll make a world we’re proud to live in,” You opened your eyes and looked down at the little soul, your heart so full it felt like it would burst, “We’ll make a world out children can be proud of.”

It might have been your imagination, but you thought the little purple soul seemed a little brighter.

Your little family might be two humans, two skeletons, and a little someone who was both and neither, but more than that you were people with souls. Taking away the outside just left two blue souls, a yellow soul, a green soul…

And a tiny purple soul that was the future.

Chapter Text

“So you’re telling me that I can effectively trap someone in a six by six square, waiting on my next action?” You raised an eyebrow at Mettaton, speaking lowly as you cleaned a glass.

“Well, yes, but Encounters take energy, darling, so if you were to try that indefinitely you’d fall asleep, then the other person would have a chance to force past your turn, and that would be embarrassing, darling… and deadly.” Mettaton gave you a serious look that was incredibly out of place in the quaint kitchen of Quin’s Place.

“I understand, I don’t think it’ll be an issue,” You assured him, “I don’t exactly plan on falling asleep in the middle of an encounter.”

Mettaton beamed proudly at you.

In the week since the kidnapping and your subsequent actions, You had not been allowed to even think about magic too hard. Both Grillby and Mettaton refused to budge on the subject, on Toriel’s orders, no matter how many times you tried to get them to give you theoretical knowledge only. Now, though, your soul had patched together enough that a small use of magic would not hurt you.

Not that you were actually allowed to use said magic, yet, but Toriel had agreed to let Mettaton and Grillby give you the lessons they had originally come to give you. So here you were, washing dishes in the back while Grillby handled drinks out front for a bit. He had been doing great the last time you checked, which was a relief in itself.

After Quin had called on the biker gang that had subsequently ended up with several contracted monsters themselves, the patrons of Quin’s Place had closed ranks. There’d been a drop in business, but nothing that hadn’t been made up by the defensive drinking of Quin’s long list of underground contacts who simultaneously managed to owe her a million favors and love her at the same time.

Not that you had any room to talk, you owed Quin a million favors and loved her, too.

Regardless, between the new contracted monsters, the monster bartenders, the little yellow lizard that Quin had given permission to turn the corner booth into a miniature computer lab (‘The corner booth is only ever occupied by people looking for a fight, anyway, and we don’t need that right now.’ Quin had said, but you could see just how well Quin got on with Alphys, and just grinned at her silliness), and the monster bouncer, Quin’s Place was now 100% monster friendly, and occasionally a monster patron not accompanied by a human would tentatively wander in.

It wasn’t all good, but of course it never was.

Quin’s Place was dangerous late at night, now, where it hadn’t been before. Quin didn’t let anyone walk home alone anymore, and for good reason. The beautiful bar front that had classed up the neighborhood for so long was now regularly graffitied by less than savory sayings and slurs. While you were magically recuperating, you’d actually spent a vast majority of your time furiously scrubbing them off the bar.

More of then than not, you were joined by Undyne, who you were still rather conflicted about.

“Darling, are you paying attention?” Mettaton prompted.

“Of course,” You agreed instantly.

“Hm,” Mettaton didn’t sound convinced, “Well then, we will practice encounters this weekend when the queen gives you the all clear to use magic again.”

You nodded, momentarily distracted as you felt Sans’s soul begin to move from Quin’s office. You dried your hands hurriedly and darted out of the kitchen, calling, “Back in a sec, Metta, sorry,” Over your shoulder as you went.

Thankfully, one thing not restricted by Toriel was the awareness of magic and souls that you had figured out in the warehouse. You weren’t sure you would be comfortable leaving Sans alone, even a room away after what had happened, without it.  As it was, your senses were almost constantly split between making sure Sans felt safe and healthy, and watching every new soul who came through the door, just in case.

Sans beamed when he saw you, and you couldn’t help but smile in response. You and Sans were…

Good.

Really Good.

So good that Quin and Mettaton (And Grillby, but Quin couldn’t hear him) teased the two of you mercilessly if they caught you being ‘cute’ together.  You didn’t mind, though. You would take all the teasing in the world as long as Quin was there to tease you, and Sans was there to be teased with you.

You hooked your thumbs through the loops on your belt before you walked through the western style swinging doors and couldn’t stop the grin that rose to your face when Sans immediately turned to you, his soul brightening.

“Hey there darlin’,” You drawled, affixing your best John Wayne impression as you approached him, “What’s a cute guy like you doin’ in a place like this?”

“What do you mean ‘a place like this’?” Quin demanded down the corner where she was pouring a drink, her eyes narrowed at them dangerously.

“i dunno,” Sans said, ignoring Quin in favor of watching you saunter over to him with a growing grin, “what’s a cute human like you doin’ in a place like this?”

“I blew into town, and thought I’d get a drink, but I never expected to find a rose in this old place,” You purred, reaching out to interlace your right hand with his.

“Old?” Quin grumbled, “I’ll show you old, and don’t think I don’t see you there ignoring me.”

“Speaking of ignoring, Quin love, that’s a pint glass you’re pouring my bourbon into,” A man in a leather called.

“Shit! Sorry Sidney,” Quin cursed, and you took advantage of her distraction to swoop down and steal a kiss. Someone wolf whistled when you lingered a moment longer than you meant to, and you drew away to see Quin grinning at you pointedly.

“Maybe we should take this somewhere private?” You suggested wickedly to Sans in a whisper. His cheekbones went blue, and he looked like he was about to agree with you, when Quin poked you.

“Oy, you’ve got the rest of your shift ahead of you,” She pointed out.

“I do,” You agreed reluctantly, “Which actually raises the question of why you’re down here serving drinks at two in the morning when I’m pretty sure you went to bed a few hours ago. I thought Grillby had the counter?” A glance around the bar reassured you that Grillby was merrily crackling away as he served a few people at the other end of the bar. There were definitely not enough patrons present to justify having two bartenders up right now, only seven or eight scattered through the bar, not counting Alphys in her makeshift booth/lab murmuring quietly to Undyne, who was sipping from a large water bottle as she kept an eye on the bar.

“He did, he does, and it’s only” Quin shook her head, “I was just… I’m not sure how you’re so calm, actually. There’s only a week and a half until…”

Oh.

“Yeah…” Sans’s hand tightened in yours and you squeezed his hand reassuringly, “I… hadn’t even realized it was that close, to be honest.” You admitted sheepishly.

May 1st. It had seemed so far away when Asgore had first told you he would be calling for evacuation and quarantine for monsters on the basis of a disease deadly to humans. At the time, the idea of being separated from Sans was painful for the week it would take to safely gather monsters together out of human hands, now that you had really started the bonding process with Sans the idea was nearly intolerable.

“Asgore said everything would be okay, though,” You rationalized out loud, “He said… a week wouldn’t hurt.”

“not in the long term,” Sans said softly, the understanding that being that far apart for that long would absolutely hurt the both of you in the short term.

“Darling,” Mettaton poked his head out of the kitchen, “Are you done flirting with Sans?”

“Never,” You denied, then glanced down, “But I was curious what brought you out of the office?”

“oh, well,” Sans blushed lightly, “i-”

You never would find out what Sans wanted, because at that moment someone walked through the door to Quin’s Place and warning alarms started screaming in your head. You whirled around, using your grip on Sans to push him behind you.

Standing in the door, looking just as shocked to see you as you were to see him, was Tony Hansen.

The soldier who had shot Remi.

His soul was a shade of orange so bright it was almost blinding, and emblazoned across it was LV 7.

“_____!” Hansen said excitedly, coming over to the bar and taking the chair closest to you, “Holy crap! It’s been... “ A shadow of guilt fell across his face, “It’s been too long, buddy, how are you doing?”

“I’m, uh…” You were even less prepared to see Hansen than you had been to see Undyne, because Undyne had at least been an unknown who had spent Remi’s last moments with you, while Hansen had been, if not a friend at least an acquaintance, who you had not since since Remi’s death, “I’m doing good… Why are you here, Hansen?” You couldn't stop yourself from asking.

Hansen’s eyes went dark, “Oh, well I heard… I mean, There’s a rumor going around that the old monster commander got a job in a joint like this…”

Sans’s grip on your hand was like iron, though your grip on him probably wasn’t much lighter. You couldn’t say exactly why you didn’t want Hansen anywhere near Sans, other than his time military time, but you refused to move your hand from behind your back, keeping Sans firmly behind you.

“She did,” You nodded slowly, “Why are you looking for her?”

You didn’t look over at Undyne in the corner, if Hansen hadn’t seen her yet you’d rather not draw attention to her, or Alphys, before you knew if there was going to be a problem.

Hansen frowned, “You don’t seem nearly as upset about that as I thought you’d be after Remi…”

Your expression hardened, and it took a lot to keep a snarl from rising to your face, “Yeah, well Remi asked me to forgive Undyne, she never asked be to forget the jackass who shot her, and I’m not giving you any shit.”

Hansen leaned back, obviously shocked by your sudden vehemence, and you heard a shocked gasp from Quin. Belatedly you realized that you never had gotten around to telling Quin that Undyne had been the monster that had been involved in Remi’s death. You’d have to deal with that later, after you figured out why Hansen had put you so on edge.

“Geez _____,” Hansen muttered, “You’d think you blamed me…”

You sighed, “Hansen, Tony, I… I don’t blame you, I don’t. I know you weren’t aiming for Remi, and I don’t blame you. I’m sorry, it’s just a late night and I’ve been through a lot of shit lately. Why are you looking for Undyne?”

“_____, you haven’t introduced us,” Quin said, her voice much stiffer than usual.

You were in trouble.

“Oh, yeah, of course,” You cleared your throat, “Uh, Tony this is Quin, my best friend and the owner of this beautiful bar. Quin, this is Tony Hansen… We were, uh, in the same squad during the Underwar.” If you were going to do this, you were going to do it right, slowly you drew away and let Sans slip out from behind you, “And this is my… boyfriend-” Boyfriend was not the right word, not even in the same universe, but it was as close as you were going to get, “-Sans.”

“Your… boyfriend?” Hansen looked like someone had smacked him with a frying pan, “No fucking way, really? That’s, uh, interesting. Shit, sorry, where’s my manners? Miss Quin, it’s a pleasure to meet you, and you too, uh Sans.” He held his hand out to Quin, who shook it stiffly. You, oddly, didn’t feel the urge to pull Quin away, though when Hansen offered his hand, tentatively, to Sans you had to resist the urge to yank your mate back behind you again.

“So, Undyne?” You prompted.

“Oh, I was mostly just looking to see if it was true,” Hansen shrugged, though he wasn’t paying as much attention to you, and was keeping an eye on Quin out of the corner of his eye, “And you confirmed it, so cool, mission accomplished. How long have you and Miss Quin known each other?”

Quin stared at Hansen for a long moment, a flat look on her face, “I’ve got a boyfriend,” She told him.

“You do?” You and Hansen asked in shock at the same time.

“Look, I… _____ I need to talk to you. Now.” Quin said shortly.

Oh shit. Oh shit, this was probably something that would be better done in private, but you really really really didn’t want to leave one of your old squadmates, the most excited of your squadmates to have been in the war, alone with the only authorities being monsters.

“Uh, maybe later?” You proposed tentatively.

“No, we really need to have a talk now.” Quin said flatly.

“i’ll go lock myself in the office,” Sans murmured, for your ears only, and managed to unlock your fingers from his, slipping back into the office.

“Right,” Your tension eased a little bit, “Right, okay, Hey Grillbz?”

Grillby walked over from the other end of the bar, where he’d been pretending to not eavesdrop.

Yes? He signed for Quin’s benefit.

“Quin and I have to talk,” You told him, pasting a smile on your face that you hoped didn’t look like you felt, “You good to watch the bar for a sec?”

Of course. He signed, out loud he asked, “Is this man a threat? Does he have LOVE?”

LOVE? You could hear the capitals in the way Grillby spoke, was that what LV meant?

“Yeah, great, we should be seven minutes or so,” You told him, hoping he’d understand what you were saying. From the sharp look he shot Hansen, he had.

Quin didn’t wait for you to stall anymore, she grabbed your wrist firmly and pulled you out from behind the bar and up the stairs to her apartment.

“When did you get a boyfriend?” You tried quickly when the door was slammed shut behind you.

“While you were kidnapped. When were you going to tell me that Undyne killed Remi?” Quin snapped.

You winced, and ran a hand through your hair, “Soon? Probably? It’s… You like Undyne, Quin…”

“I do,” Suddenly Quin didn’t sound so stiff, she sounded hurt, and furious, “And I can’t believe you would let me! You should have told me, it’s not fair leaving me in the dark about something so important.”

You sighed, and walked over to Quin’s couch, sitting down and looking pointedly at the spot next to you instead of your furious best friend. After a long moment, Quin walked over and sat down.

“I didn’t tell you what happened,” You murmured, “Not just about Undyne, but what happened to Remi, and I’m sorry. I should have.”

“You told me she was killed by a misfire in the war, you didn’t tell me that Undyne was the one misfiring!” Quin snapped.

“She wasn’t,” You said softly, closing your eyes, “It was… Monsters didn’t do ranged combat a lot in the Underwar, it was one of the legs up we had over them. Most of their attacks needed you to be…” Needed you to be about six feet away or less. Like an encounter. “Close,” You said instead, needing to get the story out. You were thankfully that Quin would hear you out before really wringing you over the coals, “Undyne wasn’t the same, though. She does these spears, and she’s… she’s got a really good throwing arm. It was mostly rumors, we hadn’t really seen Undyne before… Something went wrong in a fight, wrong intelligence, an ambush, reinforcements where we weren’t expecting, I’m not sure. Our squad got cut off from the rest of the army, and then Undyne showed up. Hansen had a good shot, and I lost track of Remi and… She got in between him and Undyne. Undyne then had a good shot at Tony but…. Fuck, she just didn’t want anyone to die Quin, not anyone. Not the monsters, not the humans… She took a spear to the chest.” It was hard, so hard to remember. The way you’d screamed, how everyone had gone silent. Running to Remi, holding her, begging her not to go, not even caring when Undyne walked up, still in full armor, “Undyne… I think she tried to heal Remi. I don’t know, I haven’t asked, but… I was holding Remi, and the spear disappeared, and… And I can’t even explain to you what it’s like to see someone in fucking full fledged knight’s armor standing over you, and knowing that even if there was something you could do, it was already too late… Undyne was standing over us, and I was so angry I could have shot her right there, the first monster I’d have really killed, but Remi… She asked me not to. She asked me not to hurt Undyne, or to hate her because she was the hope of monsters, and… I didn’t.”

You didn’t dare look up at Quin, though the silence was just a little bit painful. It was odd, telling Quin what had happened. You hard started to before, countless times, but your eyes had always started to burn, and a little ball had lodged itself in your throat, and you hated crying in front of people… Even Quin. You were pretty sure it was only because of Sans that you could tell the story now.

“I know it wasn’t fair to you, but… I didn’t want you to hate Undyne, either, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you why until I could tell you everything,” You tried to explain softly.

The silence dragged on, but when you finally managed to force yourself to look up, you found Quin wasn’t angry at all. Her eyes looked suspiciously wet, but when you looked at her, she reached over and took your hand.

“Okay,” She said finally.

“Okay?” You asked tentatively.

“I… I wish you had told me sooner, but Remi was right, and I’m not sure I would have been able to see it without starting to like Undyne, first. So, okay.” Quin’s voice wavered, and you reached out to crush her to you in a hug.

“I love you,” You told her, “I’m so lucky you’re my best friend.”

Quin squeezed you, “You’re a dork, but I love you, too.” She said softly, “Stop keeping secrets from me, okay?”

You cleared your throat and chucked, “Okay, I’ll stop.”

“Good,” Quin hummed approvingly. She shot a guilty look at the door, “We should probably head back down…”

“Yeah,” You stood up, “Uh, in the interest of not keeping secrets, Hansen was always a nice guy but there’s something about him that’s freaking me out right now.”

“Oh hun,” Quin stood and pulled you into another hug, “It couldn’t be because this is the first time you’ve seen him since Remi died?”

You glanced down at Quin’s soul, still bright yellow with no signs of any ominous letters or numbers, “I don’t think that’s it,” You mumbled.

“We’ll be careful then,” Quin decided, pulling away and taking a deep breath, “Two and a half weeks and we’ll all be well away from him, anyway.”

“Yeah,” You nodded, “You’re right…”

Quin pat your cheek reassuringly, and lead the way out of the apartment and back down the stairs.

“Hey wait,” You paused halfway down the stairs, “You never told me who your boyfriend was!”

Quin grinned unrepentantly at you, “So I didn’t,” She said cheerfully, taking the stairs two at a time and heading back to the bar. Grumbling under your breath, you followed her.

While the two of you had been talking two of the remaining patrons had left, but Hansen was still sitting at the bar, slowly fingerspelling something out to Grillby.

“He can hear you just fine Hansen,” You told him, walking back behind the bar.

“Oh,” Hansen looked surprised, “I saw him signing and thought he might have been like Remi with loud noises…”

“Not quite,” You shook your head, subtly scanning the remaining people scattered around. When you found no signs of letters or numbers on anyone else’s souls, you pasted a smile on and confirmed that Sans was still safely in the office, “I’ve got to get back to the dishes though, Metta will kill me if I leave them to him.”

“Metta?” You heard Hansen ask Quin as you ducked back into the kitchen and darted over to the robot, who was leaned against the wall by the sink, looking distinctly unimpressed.

“Darling, we’re working on a bit of a limited schedule here-”

“What is love?” You asked in a hushed tone.

Mettaton raised a very dramatic eyebrow at you, “Well, when two beings find each other and discover they are compatible-”

“No, no, no,” You shook your head, trying to remember the way that Grillby had said it, “Not love, LOVE.”

Mettaton stiffened and he shot a look at the door, “Did you meet someone who has enough LOVE that you can see it?” He asked urgently.

“Yes? What does it mean Mettaton?!” You demanded.

Mettaton took a breath, “LOVE… Well, most prefer to call it LV to avoid confusion, but… It means Levels Of ViolEnce. It’s something that stains a human soul when they kill a monster.”

Your hands tightened into fists, “So, if someone had a LV of, say five, they’ve killed five monsters?”

Mettaton cast you a pained look, “Darling, a LV of 5 means you’ve killed at least twenty monsters, maybe as many as thirty-six.”

“Oh,” A pit settled in your stomach, “So, a LV of… seven would be…?”

“Almost a hundred.”

That certainly explained where your uneasiness came from, “Why didn’t you guys tell me before?” You asked, throat feeling dry.

Mettaton reached out and took your hand, “It’s not because we didn’t trust you,” Mettaton said firmly, “I… I suppose I didn’t realize you would be able to see LV, most monsters can’t. Most of us just feel… different around those with LV. Sometimes monsters mistake the feeling as another monster’s magic, and there are so many monsters that look so different, it wouldn’t be too terribly odd for one or two to look human…” Mettaton looked torn for a moment, silently warring with himself before he added quietly, “Killing that many monsters can sometimes make a human more powerful- faster, stronger, things like that. It is obviously something we don’t want spread around.”

You could understand why, just the thought of what the Government would do with that kind of information made you sick to the core.

“Thank you for telling me Mettaton,” You said seriously, squeezing his hand, “I appreciate it, and I won’t… I won’t let anyone get hurt if I can help it.”

“Of course you won’t,” Mettaton smile at you, “You precious thing, you.”

You smiled at Mettaton and let his hand go, turning towards the dishes, but your mind lingered on Hansen.

The Underwar had been underway over two years, and through almost all of it your squad had been present. You supposed that it was possible that Hansen had killed a hundred monsters at that time, but… You hadn’t thought the kill count had been that high…

“I’m going to go out front and do drinks for a bit, you can come with or go home and get some… sleep?” Mettaton talked a lot about his beauty sleep, but he was always here bright and early and tended to stay late, so you weren’t sure if he did, in fact, sleep. “I think I need to process.”

Mettaton bit his lip, “Well… alright, just for tonight. I’ll go talk to Alphys until the bar closes, but tomorrow we really must focus.”

“Of course,” You agreed instantly. You wanted to listen more to Mettaton explain about encounters, but…

You’d feel a lot more comfortable as soon as Hansen was gone for the night.

Chapter Text

After the three weeks you had had (How had it only been three weeks? How could so much happen in so little time?) You had expected Hansen to be back and bring trouble with him no later than the next day, but after a couple of quiet days at the bar, no fights, no blowups, no attacks, you were relieved that Saturday had finally come.

You could not shake the feeling that something was going to go wrong soon, and you wanted the reassuring backup of your magic.

Seeing Asgore at your door, bright and early Saturday morning with a more than slightly grumpy looking Toriel did nothing to shake this feeling.

“Come in,” You held the door open for the two goat monsters.

“Hello Sans,” Toriel greeted the wrapped cocoon on your couch, “How are you feeling?”

A grunt was her only response and a soft smile stole across your face, “He’s been tired, and moody, but we’re pretty sure the moodiness is linked to my low use of magic, so he should perk up a bit real soon.”

“The honey is not working?” Toriel asked, worry creasing her brow.

“It is,” You assured her, “And Papyrus’s food is helping, too, but Sans is just a little… listless.”

“it feels slightly off,” Sans emerged from his cocoon, looking sleepy, “like _____ is behind a thin wall.”

“That will be something interesting to look into,” Asgore mused, “Perhaps Dr. Alphys would be able to find an explanation.”

“Perhaps,” Toriel agreed distractedly, sitting by Sans and reaching a paw towards him, she hesitated just before she made contact and gave you a questioning loo, “May I?”

The snarling beast that had been forming in your chest the moment she had reached for him eased a bit and you gave Toriel a smile that was only slightly strained, “Of course.”

Toriel watched you a second longer before placing her hand on Sans’s should and closing her eyes.

You watched, in the same way you could see souls, as Toriel’s magic seeped into Sans’s soul and the little white soul of your child. After a moment she smiled and leaned back, “Sans, you and your baby are doing just fine. The distance you feel might be because the emotions are not quite… Hmm, fresh? Dr. Alphys may, indeed, be able to tell us more later.”

Sans relaxed minutely, “ah, good… thanks tori.”

“Of course, you’re welcome, Sans,” Toriel beamed at him.

Asgore, who had been standing awkwardly by the door, straightened, “_____, would you show me your flowers again? I do not often have time for my own garden anymore and it was a pleasure seeing yours.”

“Of course,” You said, smiling in a way that downplayed the uneasiness in your gut, “Did you want to come, Toriel? Sans?”

“Well,” Toriel glanced from Asgore to you to Sans, “If it is alright with Sans, I would like to do a more thorough magical check on him, to make sure he is alright after… after everything.”

Your smile faltered, and you nodded. Sans had woken up with nightmares more than once in the time since you’d been reunited and it had taken hours to calm him again. The mix of the actions of the human world and the actions of whatever had been resetting time in the Underground had made Sans’s nightmares so vicious he was scared to go to sleep at night.

“i’m fine with that,” Sans agreed sleepily, but his eyes were sharp as he eyed Asgore, “as long as there’s no funny business.”

“Of course not,” Asgore agreed instantly, meeting Sans’s eyes with sincerity. Sans continued to glare at his King for a moment, before grunting and turning his attention back to Toriel.

You kept most of your senses trained on Sans as you lead Asgore to your backyard and idly watched him inspect your roses with a soft smile.

“You two are truly remarkable,” Asgore sighed softly as he cupped a delicate new rose.

“He is,” You agreed, “I just look good being next to him.”

Asgore chuckled softly, “If only you could see the mate bond forming between you two… It will not finalize until after the birth of your child, due to your circumstances, but I believe it will be all the stronger for it.”

“…” You wanted to thank him, but you weren’t really sure what the proper response to being told your mate bond would one day be strong.

After your child.

Almost like being told your marriage would be a success at a shotgun wedding.

The thought made you crack a smile, but Asgore’s expression was still solemn and you felt the smile fall away.

“We will be moving sooner than expected,” Asgore admitted, turning fully away from the roses.

Your heart leapt into your throat, “Wh-what? Why?”

“The human lawmakers will be introducing a new law to be voted on in the next two weeks,” Asgore said grimly, “I… I could not use what little power I had to do anything. It makes it imperative that we move as soon as possible.”

“What’s the law?” You asked, even though your mind was a thousand miles away.

It was only a week, but a week without Sans, and so much sooner than you were prepared for. You’d spent so much more time without him than with him, but the idea of being away from him, further than a yell could bring you to his side, was enough to send you into a cold sweat.

“All monsters will be required to register themselves, their children, their parents, and have a human representative assigned to them,” Asgore said grimly, “It is to protect monsters, they claim, cease crimes against them, but really…”

“They’re enslaving everyone,” You realized with a sinking pit in your stomach.

Asgore nodded slightly, “If you do not arrive with a human representative of your choice, you will be assigned one, and be required to stay within 500 feet of them at all times.”

“When will we move?” You asked, and realized that Asgore had consistently been referring to ‘us’ and ‘the humans’, including you with all the monsters in the world.
It made you feel warm, but that warmth was buried under miles of fear.

“Monday,” Asgore said regretfully.

“Monday?” Your world reeled, it was so close! “B-but, I don’t… I don’t know hardly anything, Asgore! All I have is theoretical knowledge and how to make food and…” And burn people to death.

“I am aware,” Asgore admitted, “It is not ideal, and I will send Mettaton and Grillby to you tomorrow to train you as much as they can, but Sunday night we will announce the necessity for a Quarantine of all monsters until a vaccine can be administered to protect humans. Sans will have to leave Monday, and Toriel will bring Frisk to you that night.”

“Right,” Everything was still spinning and you took several steps backwards until you felt your feet collide with concrete and you sat heavily on your porch, “Right… I’ll have to, uhm, add to the honey and… and…”

You hadn’t finished Sans’s jacket. You’d hoped to have it finished before spending a week apart from him, so he had something to comfort him during the night.
Your eyes filled and you barely registered Asgore sitting next to you and placing a heavy paw on your back.

“I’m sorry,” You whispered, burying your hands in your face, “I know it’s not forever and I need to be strong-“

“Shh,” Asgore assured you, very carefully pulling you closer until your face was buried in his chest, “Of all monsters, I know how difficult it is to spend time without my mate at my side.”

You looked up, wishing you could control the tears streaming down your face, “T-toriel…?”

Asgore gently rubbed your back and his eyes went soft and distant, “Mate bonds are forever. They are entered into with the idea that there will never be something so tremendous that you would part like that… What I did was so heinous that my mate left me, and I live knowing that she inflicts pain upon herself so that she does not need to suffer my presence. Even now she struggles, because my presence is soothing, yet intolerable to her.”

You wrapped one arm around Asgore, “I’m sorry.” You whispered, considering the pain you felt at just the idea of Sans leaving, unable to comprehend the magnitude of Sans not just leaving, but hating you when he left and refusing to be in your presence after.

The very idea was nearly unbearable.

“It is the path I carved for myself, child, and I will walk it with all the strength I can muster.” Asgore sighed, “Will you be alright in the week to come? Your own path has not exactly been easy leading to now.”

“I will,” You furiously wiped your face, “I will, because I have to. I haven’t survived all of this to fail at the most important moment, don’t worry.” You glanced around and felt your heart grow heavier, “I’ll miss my garden, though.”

Asgore nodded solemnly, “Yes child, you will. But it is here you will return when you need it most, I believe.”

You frowned slightly in confusion, still wiping your face, when, from behind you, came the soft sound of someone clearing their throat.

You and Asgore both turned to see Toriel looking… soft, and apologetic.

“_____, I have told Sans what will be coming this week, he wants to be with you.”

You were up instantly, tears drying up finally, “Yeah, of course, I-I mean, you’re both welcome to, uhm, come or stay here a moment, or…” You shot them both a crooked smile as you slipped past Toriel, through the kitchen, and back into the front room.

Sans was in your arms instantly, squeezing with a force that he didn’t look capable of.

“i don’t want to go,” He whispered into your chest and your heart broke again, tears returning to your eyes.

“I don’t want you to go,” You admitted, scooping Sans up so you could hold him as close as possible, “I don’t want you out of my sight…”

You stayed like that for a moment, wrapped in each other, before Sans sighed, deeply and heavily, “it’ll only be a week.”

“Only a week,” You agreed.

“nothin’ bad will happen and you’ll be right at mt. ebott, right?”

“The moment I can, I’ll grab Frisk and Quin and we’ll be there so fast you won’t even know we were gone,” You agreed, tightening your grip on Sans as if you could make it true.

“… when are we gonna catch a break?” Sans’s question was so soft you almost didn’t catch it, but you did.

“Soon,” You promised, maneuvering to sit on the couch. As soon as you were sat, Sans shifted until he was straddling your lap and had his face buried in your neck.

You clung to him and buried your face in his neck as well, breathing in the thunderstorm and blueberry scent of his magic, “We’ll go away, after the war and after little soul is born. Just us, like our mating should have been. Give our families a way to contact us and just spend time as a family.”

“should have been…” Sans sighed heavily, “i wonder what our mating should have been… if everything was better…”

“hmm,” You mused, rubbing your face against Sans’s smooth collar bone, “Well, let’s see… If Humanity didn't suck and Monster had never been sealed Undergound... You and Papyrus would probably have been monster nobles, because if everything was better monsters never would have been sealed away… You would have spent your time studying stars and magic and amazing things.”

“but you’re the one who's been taking care of us, you should be the noble.” Sans argued.

“Eh, I’d be a simple human, a gardner in your gardens,” You grinned, “I’ve never really been a big anybody, but you’re friends with the Queen of Monsters.”

Sans huffed a breath of laughter, “would you have come right up to me? the first time you saw me?”

“Nah,” You shook your head slightly, “I would have spent time watching you, bemoaning our fates to be separated by class.”

“i don’t think i could have missed you,” Sans pressed against you slightly harder, “not a soul like yours.”

“I would have been awkward,” You continued softly, “But you would have taken pity on this crazy smitten human and talked to me a bit, one day as you were walking in the gardens and watching the stars.”

“for days,” Sans corrected, “i’d want to talk to you for days, the way you see things, understand things, i’d want to learn how you thought.”

“We’d fall in love the normal way,” You murmured, “Friends first, then love, and we would have told our families… Remi and Papyrus would have yelled so loud that everyone would have been deaf for hours after.”

“we’d go somewhere quiet with our own garden…”

“We’d have little soul by the time we got back, our own little family formed through love…”

“and then?”

“And then? We would live happily ever after, fighting sometimes, crying sometimes, but the good times would be so good we’d barely notice the bad times.”

“yeah,” Sans sighed and settled more into you, “yeah, it would have been just like that.”

“As soon as the war ends again, and we’ve won, we’ll have our happily ever after,” You promised, “You, me, our little soul… We’ll have Aunt Quin and Uncle Papyrus to babysit and spoil them crazy when we need a moment to ourselves, and we’ll raise them so that they accept everyone, monsters and humans alike.”

“they’ll never lose anyone the way we’ve lost people,” Sans’s hands tightened on the back of your shirt, “they’ll be sad, but they won’t break like we did.”

“But if they do,” You ran a reassuring hand up and down Sans’s spine, “We’ll be right there for them, to help them pick up the pieces, and show them how to put themselves back together again.”

“yeah… yeah…”

You and Sans didn’t speak anymore, but you stayed in that position until Asgore and Toriel returned.

Toriel didn’t speak as she took a seat next to the two of you and gently took your hand. You felt, and watched her send a small questioning probe of magic towards your soul, and when it reached the glowing green heart, she smiled.

“You are all recovered, and stronger for it as well,” She said softly, “Try not to exhaust your magic to that extent again?”

“No promises,” You smiled sheepishly.

Toriel pat your hand, smiling even through the troubled look in her eyes.

“I’ll take good care of Frisk,” You promised, “It’s not my first time watching a young pre-teen, I’ll make sure they’re okay.”

“I know you will,” Toriel agreed, “I just… I have lost eight children, I worry for Frisk.”

You squeezed Toriel’s paw with the hand she still held and met her eyes fiercely, “I will not let anything happen to Frisk.” You promised.

Toriel seemed slightly startled, but she smiled and nodded, “I… I believe you, _____. Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me, just keep an eye on Sans,” You held your little almost mate as he chuckled softly into your neck, “He won’t have me around to get him in trouble, so he should be okay, but…”

But he hadn’t had you when he got in trouble, originally, and you would never forget the first time you’d set eyes on Sans, for a multitude of reasons.

“Sans will be safe,” Asgore said from the edge of the couch. You shifted a bit to look at the king, and were momentarily taken aback by how-how-
How Fierce Asgore looked.

“You are abandoning your entire race for us, you are fighting in a war that you have already fought on the opposite side of once… the least I can do is make sure your mate and child will be safely waiting for you to rejoin us.”

“We will ensure that Sans is safe,” Toriel inserted delicately, looking at Asgore with an expression you could not quite read.

Asgore met Toriel’s eyes for a long moment, then sighed, “There is one more thing…”

Your stomach cramped in worry and Sans’s hands gripped your shirt tightly.

“Not bad!” Asgore immediately clarified, “Just… strange, and perhaps a difficult question to ask.”

You relaxed slightly, but stayed wary, “Okay?”

“I would like to ask you to be my Royal Mage,” Asgore began, looking very serious, “But before you answer, you need to know what that means.”

Sans shifted in your arms until he wasn’t straddling you, but sitting on you and facing Asgore.

“Long ago, well before the Dark Children got out of hand, it was common practice for a human ruler to have a Court Mage. The mage was in charge of identifying magical threats to the throne, being an ambassador between the human rulers and the monsters, and using their magical gifts to ensure the overall safety of the rulers. From what I have read, the legend of King Arthur, and particularly Merlin, were based on this practice.

“Over time the mages began to notice that when a Mage took the oath to become a Court Mage, their magic was changing slightly. We discovered that the act of swearing Fealty to a Leader actually bound a mage. They were not changed in any significant way, and this bond did not interfere in any who mate bonded before or after swearing. They simply had a… sense for when the Throne was in danger, when the people who also swore loyalty to the Royal Line were in danger, and when they were most needed. In the eyes of the monsters, the mages were more visible than other humans. Their souls had a brightness to them, that allowed a monster to pick them out in a crowd of human mages with similar souls.

“The practice of Court Mages became so common, that my grandfather reached out to the Mages, looking for a way to better interactions between humans and monsters, and he took on a Court Mage, though he called them his Royal Mage, to be his Ambassador to humans.

“A Royal Mage, we found, was actually different than a Court Mage. A Court Mage’s bond was one way, they could sense their king and country, but the King or Queen remained unaware of the Mage and their activities. A Royal Mage’s bond was two way, they could sense and easily protect the Leader of the Monsters and Monsterkind, and they were nearly incapable of attacking a Monster. Likewise, Monsterkind were almost completely unable to attack a Royal Mage… And the Royal Mage’s Soul, while just as bright as their Court Mage Counterpart’s Souls, would invert, like a monster’s soul. They weren’t monsters, and they remained our most successful human ambassadors, but they were different and every monster and Mage could see it.”

Asgore sighed and looked down at his paws for a long moment. Silence hung in the air like a tangible force while you digested the history lesson attached to the request.

“The reason I ask this of you is twofold,” Asgore finally continued, raising his eyes to meet yours, “The first reason is that the job of a Royal Mage is essentially what you have already pledged to do and it would help you on the battlefield… The Second reason is for your own safety.”

“their safety?” Sans asked softly.

“Accidents happen on the field of battle and I… I have been worrying that something might happen to _____ if there were not a very telling way for all monsters to recognize them.”

“Won’t they be able to tell I’m a mage?” You asked consideringly.

“Your soul does look different, but most monsters have never encountered a mage before in their lives,” Asgore admitted, “They might not understand, and I don’t want you hurt in the crossfire…” Asgore put his paw on your shoulder, careful not to touch Sans, “This is an offer _____, You may accept, or decline, at anytime, including after the war starts.”

“Can I hear the oath I’d have to take?” You asked after a long silence.

“The original oaths were not in a language you could speak,” Toriel, to your surprise, spoke instead of Asgore, “Asgore and I have worked on translating the original oaths for you.”

You looked between then in surprise, and for a moment Asgore looked sadly wistful and Toriel looked to be full of regret.

Asgore broke the moment, “We worked together to give you a better chance, no other reason. The oath as translated is ‘I pledge my fealty to these leaders. Their kingdom is my kingdom, their people are my people, their safety is my safety. I am them, and I stand for them. I swear these things on my soul, my magic, and by the bonds that bind me, so I speak, so I intend.’ It is not a lengthy speech, but an old magic of practicality.”

You considered, “And you know this won’t affect the baby, or my bond with Sans? Or Sans himself for some reason?”

“It will not,” Asgore swore, “The oath was a defensive magic, not a magic of offense, and so it does not cause offense.”

You nodded slowly. You were fairly certain you knew what you would say, but this decision was life changing and so it was not yours to make alone.

“Sans?” You met the skeleton’s eyes, silently asking for his opinion.

You felt the bones of his fingers tracing circles on the back of your neck and the lights of Sans’s eyes flitted away thoughtfully.

“i... i don’t see any harm in it.” He said finally, looking back to Asgore, “but if anything happens to them…”

“It will not.” Asgore assured him, “Not from this oath, and not from anything else if I can help it.”

Sans nodded and slipped from your arms. You stood and walked around the couch until Asgore and Toriel were both in front of you.

Toriel looked surprised and Asgore’s expression was soft and hard for you to decipher.

“You do not have to do this right now,” Asgore said quietly.

“Is there any reason I shouldn't?” You asked with a grin.

Asgore shook his head silently and looked to Toriel.

“My child, I am not-”

“The oath says ‘Leader s ’, plural. So I think it’s appropriate,” You assured her, and then dropped to one knee.

You weren’t sure if you were supposed to kneel, but it felt appropriate considering you were swearing your loyalty to a King and Queen (Even if the Queen was reluctant). To your surprise, you felt your magic respond at the action, almost as though it was acting independently based on your intent.

“I pledge my fealty to these leaders.” You spoke firmly, and met Asgore and Toriel’s eyes, “Their kingdom is my kingdom, their people are my people,” The magic in the air, not just your own now but Asgore and Toriel’s as well, “Their safety is my safety. I am them, and I stand for them. I swear these things on my soul, my magic, and by the bonds that bind me, so I speak, so I intend.”

All the magic in the room turned on you, pouring into your soul until you felt so filled with emotion you could burst.

You felt Hope, and Fear, and a terrible sense of Helplessness as images of children’s faces whirled through you, seven, and then one you recognized and one you did not. The face you knew stayed and the hope turned to love, but the second face disappeared and there was heartache again.

You felt heartache. Again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and it seemed your heart would break as the same faces reappeared and died in your hand. No, to your hands.

You felt anger, overwhelming and so deep it threatened to drown out all else. The anger of someone who has given evidence, and care, and thought to an argument and has still lost in the end, regardless of who was right.

You felt weariness, deeper than your bones and heavier than you thought you could bare. Regret and pain tugged at the weariness but you still stood, because the heaviness you felt was less than the penance you needed to bare and all you deserved.

You felt shock, horror, rage beyond belief, and sadness beyond tears. You saw two children, one monster and one human, and then nothing.

You felt Happiness. Pure and simple joy.

You felt a kingdom of Hope, of Listlessness, of Sadness, of Breaking, of Loving, of Living, and of Losing.

You felt what it was like for a man to die under your hands.

You felt what it was life for a monster to die under your hands.

You felt what it was life for Sans to die under your hands.

You felt new lives appear, and lives new and old end.

You felt the Void.

And then like it had never happened, you were alone with your own thoughts and feelings once more.

“-_____?”

The familiar soft voice made you blink and you looked up into Toriel’s eyes.

“S-sorry, what was that?” You asked, heart racing as you tried to sort through everything that had just happened.

“I asked if you felt any different,” Toriel was not waiting for an answer, but was already reaching for you with her magic.

“Fine, I mean I feel fine. I felt...something… I think it worked,” You smiled in a way that you hoped was not as strained as it felt, “Not what I was expecting, is all.”

“_____?” Sans reached a hand out to you and you immediately went to his side, taking the proffered hand.

“We will leave you alone,” Asgore said softly, “I will have Grillby and Mettaton visit tomorrow, but for the rest of today we will leave you alone together.”

“Thank you,” You said softly, giving Sans’s hand a squeeze.

You waited until Toriel and Asgore were gone before going for your phone to let Quin know you wouldn’t be in, but you hesitated before opening your texts.

Maybe it was paranoia, but you didn’t want to have any of your plans in writing, in any form.

Quin does prefer it when you call , You reminded yourself as you dialed Quin’s number with one hand and Sans pulled you back down onto the couch so he could bury himself against your side.

“_____? Is everything alright?” Quin’s sounded worried and you winced internally.

“Everything’s fine!” You lied, “I, uh, I just had a visit and found out that I might need to babysit Frisk a little sooner than planned.”

The line was silent for a moment, then, “How much sooner?”

“Monday,” Your heart twinged painfully and Sans squeezed your arm reassuringly, though he hardly looked reassured.

“Oh! Oh I… Are you alright with that?” Quin was being careful with her words, and it made you feel better about your paranoia.

“Well it’s unexpected, but I’ll cope,” You sighed, “Sans and I… we’re going to spend the rest of today together and tomorrow you might be short a few employees…”

“It’s fine, if you’re going to look after Frisk starting Monday, then I want to be around to help. I’ll just close the bar down for a while for personal reasons,” Quin assured you.

“I’m sorry about this Quin,” You said softly, thinking of the hard work and dedication Quin had put into every inch of the bar.

Who knew if it would even be standing when the war ended, after everyone found out about the two of you joining the side against the majority of humanity.

“There’s nothing to be sorry about, it’ll be nice to get a little family time.” Quin promised, “You and Sans have a good day, alright, and make sure you spend plenty of time cuddling together. I’ll have a sleepover with Papyrus after Undyne is done teaching him how to make a Bailey’s Comet.”

You frowned slightly, “Isn’t… Don’t you light Bailey’s Comets on fire?”

Wild cackling in the background prevented Quin from responding and confirmed your theory.

“Why is Undyne making drinks anyway? Isn’t she the Bouncer?”

“Learning Opportunity,” Quin answered easily, “Actually, I’ll probably have Undyne and Alphys stay the night as well, we were planning on it before… well, we were planning on it next week, but they’re going to be busy.”

She didn’t have to tell you and Sans shifted slightly closer as you shifted your arm so you could thread your fingers with his.

“You’re the best Quin.”

“I know it,” You could practically hear Quin’s wink, “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay, tomorrow,” You agreed and waited half a second until she hung up to abandon your phone in favor of nearly leaping forward to startle Sans so you could lay on him.

Sans chuckled at you and shifted until he was in a more comfortable position and you checked to make sure that all your weight wasn’t on him before kissed him.

Being apart was going to be difficult, but right now was for the moment and not worrying about the future, you decided as Sans pulled you into another kiss.

You just hoped nothing would happen in the week you and Sans were seperated.